Good wins Hunter

You may choose to focus on one set of Tommy Hunter statistics and ignore the others, depending on whether you view the glass as half full or half empty.

Half full: Hunter is 9-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 19 career appearances in July - the most wins and lowest ERA for any month. He has a 1.10 WHIP (lowest) and opponents are batting .225 (lowest) against him.

In his only start for the Orioles this month, he held the Twins to one run and didn't walk a batter in 7 1/3 innings, which began the rotation's streak of five consecutive quality starts.

Half empty: Hunter has a 6.14 ERA in three career games against the Indians, including two starts. He's allowed 10 runs and 22 hits in 14 2/3 innings.

Taylor Teagarden caught Hunter five days ago, but Matt Wieters will be behind the plate tonight after sitting out yesterday's 4-3 victory. Manager Buck Showalter must not be interested in assigning personal catchers to his starters.

Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk outfielder LJ Hoes has hit safely in 26 of his last 29 games, batting .374 (43-for-115) with a home run, 16 RBIs and 23 runs scored. Hoes, 22, is the youngest position player in the International League, and his .374 average since June 18 is the seventh-best in Triple-A baseball.

In 18 games since June 30, outfielder Nate McLouth is batting .333 (24-for-72) with eight home runs and 23 RBIs. Over that stretch, McLouth leads the league in homers, RBIs and runs (19) and is tied for first in extra-base hits (13). He ranks second in OPS (1.161).

The former Pirate and Brave has 32 RBIs in 38 games since joining Norfolk on June 8.

Outfielder Lew Ford has hit safely in nine straight games, batting .395 (15-for-38) with two home runs and eight RBIs. For the season, Ford is approximately 24 plate appearances shy of qualifying among IL league leaders, and his .342 average would put him on top.

Ford is hitting .545 (24-for-44) with runners in scoring position and .600 (12-for-20) with RISP and two outs.

Corner infielder Brandon Waring has hit safely in six of his last seven games, batting .375 (12-for-32) with three homers and five RBIs. Waring has 18 homers this season (seven with Norfolk, 11 with Double-A Bowie), the second-most among Orioles minor leaguers. First baseman Aaron Baker, recently promoted to Bowie, hit 22 before injuring his oblique.

Norfolk reliever Pat Neshek has turned in 15 straight scoreless outings and gone 7-for-7 in save opportunities while holding opposing batters to a .101 average (6-for-59) over his last 18 innings. Neshek hasn't yielded a run since May 29, walking two and striking out 26 over that stretch.

The Braves reportedly are close to trading for Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, so you can cross him off the list of starters who could be acquired by the Orioles at the non-waiver deadline. The Braves have more pitching prospects to offer and a willingness to part with them.

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