Baltimore Orioles: Have Yourself A Night, Dylan Bundy
Dylan Bundy is no longer winless for the Baltimore Orioles after taking down the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.
It finally happened. Dylan Bundy is no longer winless for the Baltimore Orioles. Not only did Bundy pick up his first win of the season in a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, but he looked good, really good.
Bundy threw 7.1 scoreless innings for the Orioles on Saturday night, throwing 96 pitches and producing 16 swinging strikes in a four-strikeout performance. He allowed just three hits and one walk on the evening. His 7.1 inning outing was the longest of the season for any Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher, besting Andrew Cashner who turned in a seven-inning performance earlier this season.
The Baltimore Orioles wasted no time in getting the bats going on Saturday evening, this after collecting just five hits in Friday night’s 7-0 series-opening loss to the Rays. Back-to-back hits from Jonathan Villar and Trey Mancini to lead off the bottom of the first kicked off the party. Villar would later score on a Dwight Smith Jr. double play ball to put the O’s up 1-0 early.
Surprisingly, the lead was held intact with a dominant pitching performance from Dylan Bundy. Bundy entered his seventh start of the season with an 0-4 record and a 6.67 ERA, on pace to give up even more home runs than his 41 surrendered last season.
After allowing a base hit to Brandon Lowe on the first pitch of the game, Bundy settled into his groove, working seven-plus scoreless frames in what was unquestionably the most dominant start from an Orioles starting pitcher this season.
He allowed a leadoff double to start the second inning, but worked a groundball, strikeout on a beautiful curveball, and popup to leave the baserunner stranded for a second-straight inning. Bundy then followed up his impressive second inning with a 10-pitch third inning.
Before tonight. Bundy had allowed six earned runs in the third inning of games and had a .333 batting average against and 2.17 WHIP. Those numbers should look a little better now.
His fourth inning was even more impressive. Bundy won an eight-pitch battle against Ji-Man Choi, producing a groundball out to end the long at-bat. He finished the frame with two swinging strikeouts on his slider which is now generating an absurd swing and miss rate of nearly 60%.
The Orioles added a little insurance in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run from Dwight Smith Jr. His solo jack gives him six on the season, tied with Trey Mancini and Renato Nunez for the team lead. Smith does lead the team in RBIs with 22 and continues to be the most valuable addition of the offseason.
Bundy’s outing almost came tumbling down in the fifth. A four-pitch walk to Daniel Robertson and a HBP against Michael Perez put two runners on with one out. Bundy had made it through the fifth inning in only four of his previous starts, allowing a .313 average and 4.15 ERA, so it quickly appeared that this was going to be the moment in which the game unraveled. Not so fast. After a quick mound visit, Bundy forced Willy Adames into an inning-ending double play to run his scoreless streak to five innings.
He rebounded well after a rocky fifth, carving his way through the Tampa Bay lineup in the sixth and seventh innings. Both were three-up, three-down innings against the top and middle of the Rays’ lineup, respectively.
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The impressive outing ended after giving up a one-out double to Michael Perez in the eighth inninng. Shawn Armstrong replaced Bundy and worked out of the jam, giving way to Mychal Givens to slam the door shut on shutout victory.
I’m not going to say Dylan Bundy turned a big corner tonight, but it was a tremendous outing for the struggling veteran. Talks of moving Bundy to the bullpen have picked up recently and while we don’t know what the best path for Bundy may be down the road, he can walk away from tonight’s seven-plus shutout innings with confidence.
Good baseball is contagious. Let’s hope it spreads.
The Orioles and Rays will try and conclude their series on Sunday afternoon. John Means is scheduled to go for Baltimore, while the Rays have yet to determine a starter. Rain is in the forecast, so we’ll see if this one gets played.