Dylan Bundy is making this starting thing look easy - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Dylan Bundy is making this starting thing look easy

Bundy_Dylan_08022016_21
Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

It’s not supposed to be this easy.

I’m not supposed to be this off-base, at least this quickly.

But Dylan Bundy is proving me wrong and proving just how much he belongs in the Orioles rotation despite not pitching much since 2012.

He’s also showing why he was the No. 1 player teams asked the Orioles about at the recently passed trade deadline. And the 23-year-old keeps demonstrating why the Orioles say, “no thanks,” every time.

In his last two starts, Bundy has been just about as good as a pitcher can be.

He retired the first 16 batters he faced against Colorado last week, before tiring and serving up two homers and three runs in a loss.

On Tuesday, against an excellent Rangers lineup that added two more veteran hitters Monday in Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran, Bundy was even better.

He allowed the perfect game to go by the wayside in the fourth with a walk to Ian Desmond and lost a no-hit bid in the sixth on a two-out single by Elvis Andrus.

He allowed no other baserunners through seven innings, striking out seven. Rarely was a ball struck hard. Rarely did Bundy look like he wasn’t in complete control.

“He had some early contact, some early weak contact, and threw a lot of strikes. They never could box one of the pitches out,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “When you give hitters three things to worry about, it’s a different approach for them. It’s really tough on them when you give them two things to worry about. Location was good. He threw a lot of quality strikes.”

Bundy’s fastball velocity was actually down a tick or two to about 94 mph consistently, and it didn’t matter. Because he located everything – up, down, inside, out — and kept an excellent Texas lineup off-balance throughout.

Don’t take my word for it, take Texas manager Jeff Banister’s.

“It was a special night for Bundy with how he was throwing the ball,” Banister said. “There are times you have to tip your hat to a guy when he has his stuff going like that.”

Bundy basically shrugged off the accolades. The former No. 4 pick overall in 2011 just expects to pitch this way, even against mighty lineups like Texas and Colorado.

“Every team in the big leagues has a good lineup. They are professional hitters for a reason, they are good at what they do,” he said. “I don’t look at it any particular way. I just go out there and try to compete and give the guys, six, seven innings if I can. And keep them in the game.”

The seven innings pitched wasn’t just a big-league high, it was a career high. His longest pro outing before Tuesday was 6 2/3 innings for the High-A Frederick Keys on Aug. 1, 2012.

That, of course, is the reason I questioned whether putting Bundy into the rotation now was the right thing to do, since he basically didn’t pitch in the majority of three seasons due to injury.

I knew Bundy had no fear. I knew he had tremendous talent. I was just concerned that he wasn’t stretched out enough to be a consistent starter and that, if he pushed it, he could do more damage to that tremendous right elbow and shoulder that he worked so hard to rehab.

Instead, Bundy is showing he can be efficient in his pitch count and go deep into games. Amazingly, he demonstrated that Tuesday in his fourth major league start.

So what’s next for this wunderkind?

“Mainly just getting deeper in games and getting my arm built up to do that stuff is the biggest part,” he said. “Still got to go above 90 (pitches), so we will see how it goes.”

He threw 88 pitches Tuesday, 60 for strikes. He lasted seven and said he would have loved to have gone eight.

He just keeps making it look easy. And, so far anyway, making people like me think that the Orioles and Bundy may have known what they were doing all along.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. AlaskanOsFan

    August 3, 2016 at 12:11 am

    I was kinda hoping Buck would let him keep goin cuz I think he maybe coulda went the distance, but I understand y he was pulled…what timing for our rotation too…that TX lineup isn’t to be laughed at..

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 3, 2016 at 6:59 am

      Notice that Buck didn’t wait until he got tagged with 2 homers before getting someone warmed up last night. IMO, no way do you let him go 9 last night.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 3, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Buck said 7 was the longest he was going no matter the circumstances. But wanted him to get close to 90 pitches if he maintained effectiveness. He did.

  2. AlaskanOsFan

    August 3, 2016 at 12:13 am

    One ? though..let’s say he does this well next 2-3 starts with around 90-95 pitches…would you slot him higher in the rotation? 3 maybe?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 3, 2016 at 7:00 am

      I’m thinking 2 if he keeps this up.

      • Dan Connolly

        August 3, 2016 at 11:05 am

        As for slotting, honestly guys, that gets muddied after Opening Day and the All-Star Break. It’s all about rotation turn then. Like Tuesday, Bundy faced Darvish, arguably Texas’ 1A starter. But that was random. They won’t re-slot until the playoffs or in September after an off day.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 3, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Dan, you are not the only one that wondered/doubted if he was ready. He sure looks great now, but let’s wait a bit before we declare this a success. I, along with everybody else around here hopes that it is (a success), but I’m still worried about his arm and his health. But dang, the boy can pitch can’t he? Should be a fun stretch run!

    • Dan Connolly

      August 3, 2016 at 11:06 am

      He’s way more polished than I thought.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 3, 2016 at 2:53 pm

        It’s like he’s a hybrid of Ryan and Maddux.

  4. 5brooks5

    August 3, 2016 at 9:49 am

    It is so nice to see someone actually Pitch at such a young age, on our staff. Beltre bails on a breaking ball and then an inside fastball brushes him back, and then a fastball low and away. All with command. Let’s just pray he stays healthy and we get a chance to enjoy him PITCH for many years!

    • Dan Connolly

      August 3, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Brooks, exactly. It’s the sequencing that impresses me. And that’s because he has such command of his pitches.

  5. Schwarzstop

    August 3, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Dan, Is Bundy on a pitch count? Not to exceed 150 innings? Are the O’s expecting him to be pitching in the post season? I’m afraid, since he’s now in the show and producing like we all expected/hoped he would/could, that he’s going to burn out when he gets into mid September.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 3, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Pitch count and innings limit are different. Right now he is on a soft pitch count; he was targeted for 90 yesterday and reached 89. As for innings limit, he initially had one. But O’s felt like they kept it down early with him in the bullpen and now will let him pitch. There’s been no indication he’ll be shut down in September if healthy. We’ll see I suppose.

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