Gunnar Henderson on cool bat followed by hot bat heading into Toronto series

It was just recently where Gunnar Henderson went through a seven-game period when he was just 2-for-25 (.080) at bat with seven strikeouts. And it wasn’t that long ago.

From the last game of the New York Mets series on Aug. 6 through three games in Seattle to start the West Coast swing where Henderson went hitless, he had just those two hits, both singles and just one RBI in that span.

But now he is coming off a game where he produced four extra-base hits and is just the 11th Oriole to have four in one game – something that had not been done since Aug. 17, 2008 when Melvin Mora did it.

Gunnar can be hard on himself and noted both his hot series in Oakland and a slower stretch that preceded it when asked about his swing today heading into this Toronto series.

“Feeling pretty good. Had a little bit of a (slow) stretch there. But feeling good at the plate the whole time. Just stuff didn’t fall. But now looking forward to keeping this going,” he said.

Henderson had a .994 OPS in June and it was .824 in July and is .857 through 18 games in August.

Henderson said it was special to have such a big game on Sunday.

“Yeah it’s pretty cool. I feel like some people don’t know how hard it is to have four extra-base hits, along with how hard it is to hit for the cycle. But yeah, I mean, I play the game hard and that is what ended up happening and I didn’t want to change it for anything."

Over the years the Orioles have had their struggles against the Toronto Blue Jays. But this year they are 8-2 versus Toronto and batting .298 with a .821 OPS in the 10-game season series and their pitching staff has an ERA of 2.84 ERA.

“You have to continue to go out there and play your game no matter what your record is in previous games. I feel like that is what we’ve done all year no matter who we were playing and we are going to continue to do that day in and day out," he stated. 

Henderson said being in first place every day since July 19 has been fun. And this team doesn’t miss a chance to have fun with its strong clubhouse chemistry.

“Yeah we have a great group of guys here. Really fun, light-hearted group and we just have a great time at the field," he said.

The Orioles don't seem to be looking too far ahead right now and certainly they only mention the playoffs when asked about it, but Henderson said games like the Orioles played recently against teams like Houston and Seattle can test a team. And prepare a team for bigger games in October.

"Some of these games feel like they were kind of a playoff atmosphere," he said. "But then again I've never played in the playoffs. It is hard to imagine. It's the biggest stage in the world. It would be pretty cool to hopefully get that experience and to get it at this age."

Henderson said he has not talked to any teammates yet with playoff experience about what the postseason would be like.

"I haven't. I think when time gets closer, we'll have those conversations. But right now just keep our head down playing these regular season games and keep trying to win."

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