Bundy gets first Opening Day start - and excels - BaltimoreBaseball.com
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Bundy gets first Opening Day start — and excels

Photo credit: Ty Lohr

Dylan Bundy, who was supposed to be the Orioles’ next great hope, made his first Opening Day start Thursday – nearly seven years after the club drafted him to be its future.

At least on Thursday, he looked worth the wait.

In seven innings, the 6-foot-1 right-hander blanked the Minnesota Twins, allowing five hits, striking out seven batters and surrendering only one walk. He threw 64 of his 88 total pitches for strikes.

“Dylan was the key to the game,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said after the 3-2,11th inning walkoff victory. “Dylan was outstanding.”

Bundy admitted that he left some balls up – the first five batters flew out to either left or right field – but over the course of his start, he made adjustments, which were key when the Orioles’ defense stumbled.

In the 5th inning, Bundy recorded back-to-back strikeouts, stranding Minnesota centerfielder Byron Buxton on second. An inning later, the 225-pound starter induced two ground balls: one that resulted in a 5-4-3 double play and another which ended the sixth.

“Me and Caleb (Joseph), we had a good game plan for the game and we were able to execute,” Bundy said. “I started mixing pitches, got the changeup in the game around the 4th inning.”

He closed out his outing with another pair of strikeouts in the seventh.

Bundy’s performance shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Given his pedigree – the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft – and given it’s the beginning of the season.

Last year, Bundy posted eight straight quality starts within the first two months. He finished with 19 on the year.

So, there’s precedent for him to get it going quickly again in 2018. But Bundy noted he’s only looking forward.

“It’s good to get the season out on the right foot, but all that matters right now is wins,” he said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 30, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Cy Future was awesome yesterday. Key stat in my opinion was that 73% of his pitchers were strikes, which led to a relatively low pitch count, especially considering he had 7 strikeouts. I also note that he was removed after 7 with the pitch count standing at 88. I don’t know if it’s simply because the season is so young, but it appears they’re still being cautious with that number. Considering how Bundy wore down over the 2nd half of last year, caution is probably the prudent approach with this young stud. He’s without question the best starting pitcher I’ve seen wear the black and orange since Mike Musina. What a repertoire of pitches he has, and they were all working yesterday. Here’s to a healthy year for Dylan Bundy. He deserves it.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 9:31 am

      Absolutely no sense in pushing a guy further with a lead on the first day of the season. Especially with a rested bullpen.

  2. Dblack2508

    March 30, 2018 at 8:03 am

    I thought Caleb called a masterful game and Bundy executed it brilliantly. Do you think Bundy can make it past 200 innings ?

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 9:31 am

      I know that is his goal. As it is with most pitchers. I think he has a solid shot.

  3. karks

    March 30, 2018 at 8:13 am

    He was pretty well outstanding. I love his mix of talent and competitiveness. He had great stuff yesterday, but even when he doesn’t, he knows how to keep the team in the game. That’s a great quality to have over a long season.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 9:32 am

      I couldn’t agree more. Give me a pitcher over a thrower any day.

  4. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    March 30, 2018 at 8:19 am

    I saw Bundy pitch in his last start in Sarasota. He pitched very similar – good control throwing strikes. What I like about him is his mental toughness. If he gets men on base he keeps battling and doesnt give in. You cant ask anymore than that.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Yep. Really tough kid.

  5. 5brooks5

    March 30, 2018 at 8:37 am

    I thought Bundy was excellent. Quite a few sliders or cutters or whatever you want to call that pitch. I love Buck’s comment that , he could pitch in any era! To me that is a testament to be a pitcher,the ultimate compliment.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 9:33 am

      That stuck with me, too.

  6. Birdman

    March 30, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Great performance by Bundy. With the additions of Cobb and Cashner, looks like the O’s may have actually turned their biggest weakness, the starting rotation, into a real strength in 2018 … as for the Chris Davis lead off experiment, if he is unwilling (or unable) to bunt against the shift, its not going to work.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 9:34 am

      Yeah. I’m not sure it’s gonna work either. For several reasons. But I like the effort. Gives us something to write about.

  7. Orial

    March 30, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Read an article here earlier on the week(Paul Folkmer I believe) that stated that while the O’s have a much improved rotation they still lack the true ace that the other AL East teams have. Well we may have. Bundy looked terrific. Let’s give Brach a few more chances before the final judgement.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 9:35 am

      I think Bundy takes a big step forward this year. Not sure it is a step into true ace status, but I think he has the ability to be the unquestioned best on the staff.

  8. BARay

    March 30, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Was at game yesterday. Great time, great weather! Left field upper deck looked pretty empty, but otherwise a good crowd. A few other observations: Who is the Official scorer? Beckham and Davis each earned at least one error, from my perspective. And Davis looked lost on another grounder that, luckily for him, Schoop backed up and Bundy covered. Although Beckham did look sharp on that 543 double play! Manny looked very happy at ss. And Brach threw too many balls. 18 strikes and 16 balls is not a good ratio. Regardless of Buck (appropriately) covering for Brachs performance, he did not look sharp. And finally, yeah! for Pizza Johns and the return of Pollock Johnnys! Now if we could just get Ginos back, and get back Guinness on draft, life would be complete! Go O’s!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Jim Henneman was the official scorer yesterday. And that man knows his baseball. Tho I wasn’t on board with that call. Still Henny’s forgotten more baseball than most of us know.

  9. Ezrine Tire Award

    March 30, 2018 at 11:22 am

    The Bunder earned yesterday’s Ezrine Tire Award!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Tough call between him and Jones.

  10. Jbigle1

    March 30, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Glad we got the win but I don’t know if there was a lot to be excited about outside of bundy’s Start. I have an inkling TB is not going to hit much this year. The need for a leadoff hitter after watching Davis couldn’t be more apparent if it wasn’t to everyone already. We’ll be leaning heavily on the big 3 in the bullpen until Britton comes back. Hopefully we don’t burn them out this season. Here’s to hoping Gausman continues the success.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      I’m not sure any full conclusions can be made. But they’ve needed a real leadoff hitter and an OBP guy for years.

  11. Booged and Powelled

    March 30, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Dan and or Sean,
    Are you back to the excitement about DB before the injury happened..

    • Dan Connolly

      March 30, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      I don’t know if Dylan will ever return to the ceiling he had pre-surgery. He likely won’t have that velocity again. But what makes him intriguing going forward is his ability to pitch.

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