Bundy dominates by commanding four pitches, getting 19 first-pitch strikes - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Bundy dominates by commanding four pitches, getting 19 first-pitch strikes

Photo credit: Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports

In its essence, baseball is a simple game.

Throw strikes, pitcher. You have a much better chance to succeed if you do that.

Much simpler said than done, of course.

If I could throw strikes effectively to big league hitters, I wouldn’t be behind a keyboard (I mean, now I would. I’m in my 40s. You get the point, though. Pitching is real hard).

Dylan Bundy’s masterpiece Wednesday night against a tough Toronto Blue Jays lineup – four hits, no walks, one run and eight strikeouts in seven innings — was a clinic in pitching. He threw 99 pitches, 69 for strikes. He struck out the side in the first inning on 11 pitches.

“That was a little surprising. The slider was working a little bit better than I thought, but I think they were just anxious and so was I,” Bundy said. “I was amped up just because it was Game Two. It was a fun day.”

The key, again, was throwing strikes. Bundy located all four of his pitches, his fastball, curve, changeup and his vaunted slider/cutter, that the Orioles had him shelve last year as he made his way back from elbow and shoulder injuries.

“There’s some more right-handers in the lineup tonight, so I was using that (cutter/slider) a little bit more than I would, other than my change-up,” he said. “I was happy with it.”

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It was working. Everything was seemingly working for Bundy.

“They haven’t seen much of him. … There was a little bit of potential for ambush factor early in the game, but he kept them — as much as he could — off balance and they had to honor all his pitches,” manager Buck Showalter said. “When you give them three different looks and they have to honor three different pitches – really four tonight – you like your chances.”

Keeping a hitter off balance is always big.

But here’s what was bigger. Bundy attacked every hitter.

He threw strike one – or had the first pitch put in play – to the first 13 batters he faced. That’s pretty incredible. He threw a first pitch strike to 19 of his first 22 batters.

It’s funny, just when I started counting his first-pitch strikes, he threw a first-pitch ball to each of the three Jays batters in the seventh, his last inning.

But by then he was in such control, that pinpoint control wasn’t as much an issue.

The players behind the 24-year-old Bundy – who have seen plenty of Orioles’ pitchers nibble over the years – appreciated the game plan.

“I’ve been saying a while, if they attack the zone and allow the defense to work for them, good things happen,” center fielder Adam Jones said. “And he attacked the zone just as Gausman did the other (day), so I tip my cap to our pitching staff the first two games, attacking that strike zone. Seeing how good our defense is by using us.”

The defense was good. The game plan was good.

Bundy, on this night, was great.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    April 6, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Cy Future?

    • Bancells Moustache

      April 6, 2017 at 9:06 am

      Please refer to my TapRoom comment a week ago

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        April 6, 2017 at 11:42 am

        I went back and looked at that Taproom comment. You posted it that particular day, somewhere after 9:00 PM … waaay past my bedtime during the offseason. Sorry I didn’t see it before. Very insightful, however I hope you’re very wrong.

        Might I remind you of a some of your own words a few days back regarding a certain Debbie Downer .. and I paraphrase here … “You only pay for blatant homerism”. Dear sir, you will find NO more blatant a homer than I.

        Bundy wins the Cy .. that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    • Dan Connolly

      April 7, 2017 at 9:24 am

      You guys crack me up.

  2. 5brooks5

    April 6, 2017 at 8:13 am

    That’s what a S.P. is supposed to look like!! Impressive

  3. karks

    April 6, 2017 at 11:39 am

    He was really fun to watch. It seems like the mental part of his game is just as strong as the physical. He really thinks through at-bats.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 7, 2017 at 9:23 am

      I noticed that last year, too. Sequencing is big for him.

  4. John in Cincy

    April 6, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    “I mean, now I would. I’m in my 40s.”
    …………………. …
    Don’t underestimate yourself, Dan. There’s still time. Think Bartolo Colon. lol

    • Dan Connolly

      April 7, 2017 at 9:21 am

      That’s true. And Bart and I have the same body type.

  5. bigdaddydk

    April 7, 2017 at 9:14 am

    I bought into MLB Gameday this year. I live overseas and hate surfing for streams only to listen to the broadcast from NY, Toronto, and Boston for O’s games. Anyway, one feature I like is the ability to go back, and watch again, like with DVR/Tivo. Having watched the entirety of the game, I went back and looked again at some of the outs Bundy recorded and it never seemed like Blue Jays hitters were ever really on balance. Nobody teed off on him at all. He had good control of all of his pitches and worked inside-outside nicely. There were a handful of pitches I thought he could have gotten the call on that he didn’t get, but his control also got him a couple of borderline calls during the game. I particularly liked when Donaldson took a third strike and whined the whole way back to the dugout.

    This was an excellent outing for Bundy. He was composed and he is obviously gaining a greater understanding of how to pitch. Adding the cutter back into his repertoire is going to make him even more dangerous. I don’t want to get my hopes up too much yet, but I would really like to see a 15-win season or better out of him. If this first start is any indication, he may be on his way.

    Also glad to see him throw a solid 7 innings and give the bullpen a rest after Monday’s opener.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 7, 2017 at 9:22 am

      If he gets close to that most nights, he’s gonna have a huge season.

      • bigdaddydk

        April 8, 2017 at 12:19 pm

        If he and Gausman continue on the upward trajectory that started last year, they’d better think about extending them both quickly before they hit free agency. That kind of potency would be very nice to have for a #1 and a #2 starter. Once Tillman is healthy again, assuming he gets back into form quickly, the rotation will be solid 1-3. 4 and 5 still look iffy to me, particularly when it’s Jimenez and Miley we’re talking about. Hard to string together four and five game streaks when the bottom of the rotation is shaky like that.

  6. D Hare

    April 7, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    What do you think, was Bundy’s outing a special night for him as far as command or this far removed from tj and with the cutter can that be his new norm? Was so much fun to watch him dealing. I love his bulldog attitude. Plus throwing the majority of pitches as strikes is refreshing after watching Ubaldo smoke and mirrors.

    • bigdaddydk

      April 8, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      When a guy is throwing 70% of his pitches for strikes and 86% of his first pitches for strikes, he’s doing his job. Bundy did a very nice job of missing bats too. I hope this is the new norm for him, because if it is, he’s on his way to being a perennial threat to win 20 and compete for the Cy Young. His command was excellent and his comfort on the mound has grown.

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