Baltimore Orioles: Nibbling won’t get the job done

Dylan Bundy looked really good for the Baltimore Orioles yesterday afternoon against New York – the first time through the order. Bundy’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 5 K. After that first time through the order however, New York hitters figured something out about Bundy, which incidentally was true of Oriole relievers yesterday as well: they were nibbling.

Nibbling may well be an okay strategy here and there or from time to time. However it’s not a game plan. Nor should it be. New York hitters eventually recognized what was going on, and just laid back and allowed Bundy and the Orioles to in essence beat themselves.

The Birds took an early lead, as Tim Beckham led the game off with a solo homer. One inning later Chris Davis smacked a two-run homer of his own following a New York error. So it appeared that the Birds were going to be off to the races in this game. Then as I said, the second time through the order New York figured out what was going on.

Gregorius smacked a two-run homer in the fourth, and Ellsbury an RBI-single. That tied the game at three. Now to his credit, Bundy went from cruising to being on the ropes in that inning. At the very least he salvaged a tie as opposed to surrendering the lead.

However he did surrender the lead an inning later as Castro’s two-run homer gave New York a 5-3 lead. And that closed the book on Bundy for the day. However as I said, the Orioles’ bullpen seemed to have the same strategy of nibbling on the corners. And it had the same results. New York would put two more runs across in the sixth, and Castillo would homer in the ninth for the O’s to close out a 7-4 loss.

When you nibble on the outer edges of the plate, eventually the opponent is going to take notice. That gets you into more hitter’s counts, and it allows the hitters to sit on fastballs when in the end you have to throw a strike. And here’s the other thing; nibblers don’t get calls. As the game went on almost all borderline pitchers were going New York’s way. On the flip side, when New York would be in the field pitches in the same location were being called strikes. It’s a by-product of living on the outer edges of the plate.

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Jeremy Hellickson gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s C.C. Sabathia. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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