Dylan Bundy gave the Baltimore Orioles perhaps the most lackluster start of his career this evening. Bundy’s line: 0.0 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 0 K. You didn’t read that incorrectly, and I didn’t make a mistake in writing it. Bundy was credited with no part of an inning. He departed after giving up seven runs on four homers.
So to review, the Birds trailed 7-0 before they even recorded an out in the game. The first out was recorded by reliever Mike Wright, who was brought in with nobody out. And if there’s one silver lining on this game, it’s Wright’s performance. He gave up a few runs, however he stablized things just a bit for the O’s. Well, that might be a bit strong of a term. Let’s say he settled things just a bit. Wright’s line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 1 K.
Chris Davis provided for the Orioles’ lone run of the game until the end, on a solo homer in the second inning. Danny Valencia and Caleb Joseph would add solo shots in the last of the eighth, Schoop a two-RBI double along with a few other runs in the ninth as well. However this was also the third consecutive poor start for Bundy. Now I always say that pitchers will have about ten poor starts a year. However the fact that he’s seemingly fallen so far so fast is something that makes one raised an eyebrow.
Bundy was topping out on his fastball this evening in the high 80’s. Bundy isn’t a flame thrower by any means, however he usually has a bit more velocity than that. In general, Bundy’s what one might call a finesse pitcher, who either pitches-to-contact or fools hitters with late movement and deception. That obviously didn’t happen tonight, and it hasn’t happened for a few weeks.
So my question is whether or not Bundy’s 100% healthy. The consecutive poor starts you can almost overlook – those things are going to happen. But the down tick in velocity combined with the poor starts kind of jumps out at you. Keep in mind that this is a guy who’s already had Tommy John surgery. Not that it should mean anything, but he’s already had it.
My point would be that it might do the Orioles well to have Bundy examined in some manner, because it wouldn’t hurt to ensure that he’s pitching with a full deck. Because the other issue could then become that it’s a mechanical issue. So pick your poison. Ultimately there’s something going on, because Bundy this evening became the first pitcher in the live ball era (1920-present) to give up four homers and not record an out in the first inning of a game.
When the dust settled in this game Kansas City beat the Orioles 15-7. Now mind you, this isn’t scientific – I’m going squarely based on seeing the game and analyzing this team for quite a few years. However a vast majority of the Kansas City runs (or “big moments”) came on two-strike counts. Many of the homers and even the base hits that came before the homers carried two-strike counts.
This has been a problem for the Orioles for some time. It dates back at least to 2016 – again based on my perception of the games. It’s something we saw at times in Spring Training as well. In fact, I wrote about it in Spring Training. The Orioles just can’t seem to get guys out with two strikes.
I can’t tell you what the issue is. Are the Orioles just very predictable in terms of their pitch selections and locations? Is someone stealing signs? Or is it simply a grand coincidence? Any one of those scenarios is possible – as are others. But perhaps it’s something that should be looked into. Surely if there’s a pattern and/or if something’s happening that’s tipping pitches, if opponents are able to pick up on it the Orioles’ coaches would be also.
The series continues tomorrow evening at Camden Yards as the O’s try to get even. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Eric Skoglund. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.