Baltimore Orioles: Reports of the Birds’ and Dylan Bundy’s demise have been greatly exaggerated

It began with Dylan Bundy today for the Baltimore Orioles. That is, it begins and ends with starting pitching. Well, maybe it didn’t end there per se. Bundy was strong, and the makings of a win certainly began with him. But it ended with Oriole bats. Bundy’s line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K.

This game was never destined to be close, and it was the perfect response to the Birds losing 17-1 this past week to Kansas City. For the sake of the team, you have to hope that they’ve exorcised the demons of their disastrous start and can still make a run of things. If today’s results mean anything, they can play with anyone.

The Orioles hit three solo homers in the second to get things going, off the bats of Danny ValenciaJoey Rickard (who was just brought back from triple-A before the game), and Trey Mancini. And in Mancini’s case it had to feel especially good to homer on Mother’s Day at Camden Yards. His Mom’s a native Marylander.

Valencia would score one inning later as well on a throwing error, but it was the fourth inning where things really popped. The O’s got an an RBI-double from Manny Machado, RBI-singles from Valencia and Jonathan Schoop, and a three-run homer from Rickard. When the smoke cleared after the fourth, the Orioles had spotted Bundy an 11-0 lead.

And here’s the other positive aspect of this game, although a bit more hidden; Bundy pitched well with that lead. Some pitchers will ease up just a bit when they have a lead of that magnitude. Bundy didn’t do that, and he was able to complete seven very solid innings of two-hit baseball.

The Birds’ offense would take a couple of innings off, only to resume activity in the seventh inning. Mancini grounded into a fielder’s choice-RBI. Machado and Gentry smacked RBI-doubles, with Gentry’s being a two-RBI double. Valencia and Rickard added RBI-singles as well. Span would smack an RBI-single in the eighth to shave one run off of the Orioles’ margin of victory. However up 17-0 to that point, I don’t think the Orioles were that concerned.

You also have to give some credit to Joey Rickard, who smacked two homers on the very day he was recalled from triple-A Norfolk. Buck Showalter said after the game that in fact it almost didn’t happen. Rickard and Donnie Hart‘s (who was also recalled) flight to Baltimore was at 8 AM, but it was delayed by four hours. Somehow the Orioles were able to get them on another flight, and into the starting lineup Rickard went.

It’s tough to decide whether “the story” is about pitching or hitting when a team wins by 16 runs. But ultimately it’s about the team. This was a total team victory. Perhaps it begins (and ends) with Bundy, but Rickard obviously played a huge role, as did Machado, Schoop, et al.

So let the record show that the second week of May was a good one for the Birds, who are off tomorrow before Philadelphia comes to town for a short two-game set on Tuesday. Does that mean that moving forward the season will be smooth sailing? Does it mean that this team could actually make a run at something? I’m not saying that, first off because they dug a massive hole. But also because I can’t predict the future. However reports of their demise might have been exaggerated.

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