The Baltimore Orioles defeated Boston 5-2 last night in Ft. Myers, FL. Dylan Bundy got the start (and was credited with the win), and he was followed in the game by fellow young pitcher Kevin Gausman. Combined, their final pitching line was: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K. (The one run came off of Bundy in the second inning.) Before we reflect any further, get this…Dylan Bundy was unhappy with how he pitched! He felt that his fastball dropped in velocity (90-94 MPH), and he left the ball up in the zone. Based on his comments after the game it appeared that the two walks bothered him more than anything else. Manager Buck Showalter took a bit more of a sympathetic view of Bundy’s start, although I’m sure that knowing Showalter he’ll be happy that Bundy holds himself to such a high standard.
The good news for Bundy is that he limited the damage to only one run, which is a big key for starting pitchers. Kevin Gausman on the other hand put 25 of his 33 pitches over for strikes. Gausman was expected to pitch two innings along with Bundy, however it took him three innings to reach his limit. That’s a good sign, as he appears to be a pitcher that’s economizing very well. I would tend to agree with Showalter in the sense that Bundy did make some good pitches. The velocity issue is something he might have to work through a bit as camp progresses, and potentially even once he’s assigned to minor league camp (presumably at some point). The Orioles led 2-1 for much of the game until Jason Pridie‘s two-run double opened up a 4-1 lead in the 9th for the Birds, who ended up winning 5-2.
The news isn’t all rosy coming out of Ft Myers for the O’s however. Nick Markakis has been out since February 27th with neck pain, and is expected to have an MRI on Monday. For the time being the Orioles appear to feel that this is not anything serious…for the time being. Anything in the neck area can range anywhere from a strain to serious. However I would submit that your neck and shoulder regions have quite a few small muscles, so it’s very possible (and even probable) that Markakis may have strained one of those. Chris Tillman was scheduled to start this afternoon’s game in Sarasota against Pittsburgh, however he’s been scratched in favor of Miguel Gonzalez. Tillman has been complaining of abdominal soreness, and is being pushed back a few days.
Injuries are always a concern during spring training, and it’s entirely possible that some guys are just experiencing some flare ups due to being in camp for a couple of weeks. The key is to nurse these injuries so that the player is ready for the regular season. My personal opinion is that both Markakis and Tillman will be ready come April. However keep in mind that this is part of the reason why organizational depth is such an important thing. The New York Yankees are reeling right now because they don’t have that organizational depth, and they’re unsure where their power is going to come from. As is stated above, the Orioles will return to Ed Smith Stadium this afternoon to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1 PM. The game can be heard locally on WBAL-AM 1090 with Orioles’ radio network announcers Joe Angel and Fred Manfra.