If you’re intrigued by how Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy is maturing as a major league pitcher before our eyes, well, he took two more big steps Friday night.
One, Bundy bounced right back against a team that had knocked him around in his last outing.
And two, the 23-year-old didn’t relax at all when he was given a 6-0 lead to start the third or an 8-0 lead to start the fifth. He just kept attacking hitters.
Two valuable lessons for any major league pitcher.
Invaluable lessons for someone making his 10th career big league start.
“Dylan was good,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He really shows a lot of maturity pitching. He’s had a couple times when he’s had some big leads and doesn’t take his foot off the gas at all. If anything, he kind of slows the game down a little bit. It’s been impressive to watch him when we’re ahead.”
Sounds crazy, unless you’ve played or watched this game a whole lot. But when given a lead, there is a tendency to try and not make mistakes. It’s human nature.
And that leads to nibbling and walks, and then maybe a grooved pitch to get out of trouble that lands 400 feet from home plate.
There are plenty of Orioles pitchers over the years – including veteran ones – who just couldn’t simply deliver a shutdown inning when given a lead. We’ve seen a decent amount of that this year. So it’s refreshing to see Bundy’s concentration go into overdrive in those situations.
“You’ve just got to go out there and focus on trying to get a shutdown inning,” Bundy said. “Treat every inning like that, even though it’s 8-0.”
The other thing Bundy did Friday night was prove he has a short memory. He gave up five runs in four innings in his last outing Saturday in New York. He bounced back by throwing 5 2/3 shutout innings against the same Yankees Friday.
“Absolutely, it’s nice when you have four days’ rest and (are) able to face the same team again, and make adjustments,” Bundy said. “(Friday) it paid off.”
Yeah, it’s definitely been intriguing watching Bundy become a better and smarter pitcher every month he’s been in the majors this season.
“He’s still learning, too, but you’ve got to love what you see,” Orioles right fielder Mark Trumbo said. “That’s power stuff. His off-speed is what I usually point out, because it really does stand out. Three plus pitches, and he’s only going to get better.”