Dylan Bundy struggled in his return to the Baltimore Orioles from the DL last night in Minnesota. Bundy’s line: 3.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R (5 earned), 1 BB, 2 K. Bundy had command issues all night, in his first start in nearly two weeks since injuring himself running the bases in Atlanta. He left some pitches elevated, and Minnesota hitters took advantage of it.
The fact that Minnesota put a damper on almost every rally the Orioles attempted didn’t help matters. And it started literally on the first pitch, which Tim Beckham sent deep to center field – the deepest part of the park. It was a home run…until Minnesota’s Cave climbed the wall and brought it back in. That really set the tone for the game.
And as I’ve said before, your opponents always seem to get fat on what you leave behind. Or more specifically, they don’t let you off the hook. Minnesota put two runners on in the last of the first, and Dozier’s RBI-single scored a run. However Beckham couldn’t handle the throw from the outfield at third base, and the ball kicked into the dugout. This allowed another run to score, and Dozier to get to third base. He would later score on a Polanco RBI-single – which was hit against the shift.
And that’s another underlying theme for the Orioles defensively this year. They have to lead the league in having guys produce against the shift against them. These infield shifts are used because the spray charts on players league-wide indicate that they hit the ball to certain areas of the field more so than other places. But when they play the Orioles, somehow they’re able to work against those numbers and hit ’em where they ain’t.
Bundy would give up a two-run homer to Kepler and an RBI-single to Mauer in the fourth. However just prior to that the Birds had loaded the bases in the top of the inning, and Minnesota found a way out of the jam. And once again the Orioles paid for what they left behind. They would get an RBI-single from Chris Davis in the sixth, and another run on an error in the seventh.
However later in that seventh inning Tim Beckham was thrown out at home plate after being sent by Bobby Dickerson at third. It was a questionable decision by Dickerson, as it came on a medium-depth grounder to left field. But nevertheless, it was another example of Minnesota being able to stop an Oriole rally. The Birds would still find a way to get a couple of runners on base in the ninth, but again the rally fell short.
The Orioles are past the point where they were only getting two or three hits a game. They’re putting men on base, which is obviously a good thing. However they’re continually unable to get them home, save for the home run ball. And somehow opposing teams have all found a way to prevent that from happening so frequently. Again however, the fact that they appeared to have a home run on the first pitch and were robbed didn’t help matters.