Myriad Orioles Thoughts: Bundy still starting; Austin Hays' hustle; Farrell on Judge call - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Myriad Orioles Thoughts: Bundy still starting; Austin Hays’ hustle; Farrell on Judge call

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Orioles’ right-hander Dylan Bundy couldn’t get out of the fifth Monday night, allowing six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in an eventual loss to the Boston Red Sox, 10-8, in 11 innings.

Pitching on five days’ rest, Bundy retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, gave up a run in the fourth inning and then fell apart in the fifth, allowing four singles and a walk to Boston’s first six batters before being pulled by manager Buck Showalter.

The Orioles’ bullpen permitted Bundy’s inherited runners to score; he was charged with six earned runs, his most since allowing seven on July 23 versus Houston — his career high.

Monday’s performance begs the question: Should the Orioles shut down their 24-year-old prized starter?

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Showalter says not yet.

“No, I don’t think we’re at that point yet. Stuff’s fine, he feels great between starts, he’s getting extra days’ rest,” Showalter said. “As long as we think it’s beneficial for him and the club, then we’ll continue down that path. But we’re not at that point yet.”

The conventional wisdom says it’s probably time to call it a season for Bundy. I’m not sure what is gained by continuing to pitch him in these final two weeks.

Is Bundy tired? Hard to tell. He’s certainly not going to say he is. That’s not his style. And that’s not what big leaguers do. Fatigue may be setting in, but he’s not giving in to it.

“I mean, (fatigue) could, yeah. But it doesn’t matter. It’s September. Everybody is tired right now,” Bundy said. “So, you’ve just got to battle through it and work on it in my next bullpen and get ready for the next one.”

Bundy has thrown nearly 170 innings this year – 169 2/3 to be exact – after throwing 109 2/3 last year and 169 2/3 as a pro in parts of three seasons before that.

We all know Bundy’s injury history in the minors, and that he’s been healthy for each of these past two seasons in the big leagues.

The Orioles obviously want to keep him that way. He may be the most important piece for the club in 2018, given the organization’s scarcity of quality rotation arms.

A jump of 60 innings from one season to the next seems plenty, and, no matter the company line, the Orioles aren’t playing for the postseason anymore.

He’ll likely get one more start against Tampa Bay at home this weekend. Then we’ll ask the question again — whether he’s done for the year or he’ll pitch in the final series at Tampa Bay.

To me, ending his season now, after his 28th start, with a 13-9 record and 4.24 ERA, is plenty good enough.

Bundy, though, just shrugs his big shoulders when asked about the rest of this month.

“I mean, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’ll just be ready to throw when it’s my next day to throw and throw my bullpen in between and be ready for the next game.”

Hays’ hustle is impressive

Showalter always tells us not to be fooled by September performances. I get it. But it’s hard not to be impressed with rookie outfielder Austin Hays, and how hard he busts it up the line.

In the second inning Monday, Hays singled up the middle and the ball caromed off second base and into shallow left center. In an eyelash, Hays was on second. Great instincts as well as hustle.

In the fifth, Hays hit a ball to third that Rafael Devers butchered, and Hays kept running, making it to second base when the ball slipped into left.

In the eighth, Hays hit a bouncer to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who strangely tried to grab it barehanded. Bogaerts missed, the ball went into left and, you guessed it, Hays didn’t stop running and made it to second again. It was ruled a single and an error on Bogaerts, allowing Hays to take the extra base.

But what allowed Hays to get to second was that hustle out of the box that’s becoming his trademark already.

“I really like that he’s anticipating taking an extra base,” Showalter said. “But he’s played under control pretty well with that. It’s not a reckless aggressiveness so far.”

Farrell doesn’t pass judgment on Judge walk

In the bottom of the ninth in Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Showalter made an interesting call: Having closer Zach Britton intentionally walk rookie slugger Aaron Judge to get to another slugger, catcher Gary Sanchez, with a runner on third and two outs in a 6-4 game.

It put the tying run – in Judge – on base. Britton, who said afterward he was hoping to face Judge, struck out Sanchez on five pitches to earn the save and make Showalter’s unconventional decision pay off.

On Monday, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked what he thought of Showalter’s decision. It was an interesting answer. He didn’t support or criticize, but said he completely understood it. And it was gutsy.

“Hopefully we’re not in that situation (choosing between Judge and Sanchez with a game on the line),” Farrell said. “But I can understand the move. Judge has had a lot of success. I’m sure at the moment it felt like the better matchup was with Sanchez. I tell you what, it takes a lot of fortitude to make that move in that moment. And you know what? You give (Showalter) credit for the way it worked out.”

Showalter, as he likes to say about his young players, ain’t scared.

Sad news from the Dominican

There have been far too many reports of ballplayers dying in car accidents in the Dominican Republic in the past few years. Kansas City Royals’ pitcher Yordano Ventura was the highest profile casualty, dying this January, days before former big leaguer Andy Marte was killed in a separate accident (St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder Oscar Taveras died in a crash there in 2014).

Now, the extended Orioles’ family has suffered a similar loss. The club announced Monday that 21-year-old Miguel Gonzalez, who had pitched three seasons for the Orioles’ Dominican Summer League team, died after injuries from an accident in his home country Saturday.

Gonzalez, who would have turned 22 later this month, was 1-9 with a 7.65 ERA in 38 games (13 starts, three seasons) all for the DSL Orioles since 2015.

The Orioles held a moment of silence for Gonzalez before Monday’s game.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Birdman

    September 19, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Buck says “don’t think we’re at that point yet” … There are only about ten days left in the season – when is “yet”?

    • Dan Connolly

      September 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      I guess after the next start?

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 19, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Give the boy the ball if he wants it. What’s 5 more innings anyway?

    • Dan Connolly

      September 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Well, those who are pitching fatigued are more susceptible to injury. I think that’s a concern.

  3. Orial

    September 19, 2017 at 9:15 am

    As sad a loss as we’ve had. Bundy hopefully the staff’s ace gives it up. Givens,Blieir,Castro also seem to be burning out. Most impressive thing about Hays other than his hustle is his “Feet First” sliding a dying art. May keep him healthier longer. Overall seeing Bundy give up a 6-1 lead is very concerning.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 19, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      I’d say disappointing but not concerning. It’s a long season and he’s been good for a large chunk of it.

  4. c Soprano

    September 19, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Bundy shouldn’t have made another start once wild card hopes died. I know this isn’t conventional wisdom around here but we are better off with a new manager. Someone who takes guidance from front office, not the other way around. Plus what pitcher is better off because of Buck? I’m scratching my head… then there is his usage techniques; won’t pinch hit late for certain guys who are being matched up on, Trumbo should have lost his job 200 at bats ago, way too many at bats for Joey. But I realize nothing matters as long as we have this owner.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      I’m not sure the owner had much to with this team’s record. And Buck has his warts, but he’s a pretty good manager imo. In some aspects he’s among the best.

  5. woody

    September 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Glad to see Pedro get some knocks. To see him not on a roster and Trumbo picking up a decent contract makes no sense to me.

    Hopefully thats the last we see of Trumbo. Nice guy i’m sure – but sorry we can’t afford to keep you and Davis in this team and nobody is going to take that Davis contract.

    Refreshing stuff from Hayes. Makes a difference when you’ve got a kid that can run eh – in all aspects. Lets hope that we give these kids a chance in 2018.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 19, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      I’d be surprised if Trumbo isn’t an Oriole next year.

  6. Ezrine Tire Award

    September 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Quitters……

    • Dan Connolly

      September 19, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Only the talent quit imo.

  7. Osfan73

    September 19, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Shut Bundy down, he’s done well I think this year. Nothing more to be gained here.
    Keep finding ways to play Hays, like what he’s been able to do and this team needs to see what hustle looks like.
    Far as the Judge/Sanchez thing…..Tony Larussa did that stuff all the time. It’s a darn if you do darn if you don’t situation. 14 HRs 26RBIs .400 plus average against JUST the Os pitching staff??…..l would’ve tried something different too. No problem with it here even if it didn’t work. Just glad it did!

  8. OsFanStuckInNY

    September 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Either start Bundy the last two Sundays vs. TB or just one more time in Pitt.
    I vote for the two more starts on a short leash (even if only once through the order.)
    The guy is as strong as an ox. Why treat him like an old man, like us?

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      September 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm

      Maybe even piggy back Scott with him.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 19, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      As I said above, you’ve got to make sure fatigue isn’t a factor here. That’s often when injuries occur. And there is no reason to push

  9. bigdaddydk

    September 20, 2017 at 11:25 am

    One thing I would like to see more of is pitchers working out of jams. If there’s something that Buck takes some heat for, it’s not having a short enough leash on some pitchers, and with Miley and Ubaldo in particular, I totally get that. But it takes a tremendous toll on the bullpen when starters are yanked with a couple of guys on because of concern that they won’t get out of the inning without a crooked number on the board. Pitchers used to do that all the time and not totally collapse and let the other team hang five on them. I’d like to give our younger guys a little longer leash here at the end of the season with the WC more or less a pipe dream, at best, and let them work through some adversity. Pitchers cannot just blow up after five innings and keep our bullpen fresh for year’s end. Givens, Castro, and Brach all look tired right now. They’ve thrown a lot of innings this year. So has Bleier.

    As far as the call on Judge, I totally get pitching around a guy who has done more damage to us than anyone else all year. He has absolutely killed us. While I’d have had confidence in Britton, being a ground ball pitcher, I thought he was better matched up with Sanchez.

    Hays is a breath of fresh air. Love his hustle. I hope it’s contagious. We have to seriously consider him as the starting RF next year. If Mullins shows promise, we have to start thinking about AJ moving to LF at some point too. He’s not as young as he once was, and Mullins is probably our CF of the future as it stands now. That would make Mancini a DH candidate with the occasional break for Davis at 1B, and it would make Trumbo expendable. Not that he’s going anywhere, but I can wish. What I’d really love is to keep Castillo as a primary DH and platoon catcher. Mullins may not be ready next year, and Sisco could probably use a little more time at Norfolk to work on cutting down base-stealers. I could live with Mancini, Jones, and Hays in the OF.

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