Myriad O's Thoughts: Bundy's easy pass; Beckham's surgery; middle infield dearth; Benge's homecoming - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Myriad O’s Thoughts: Bundy’s easy pass; Beckham’s surgery; middle infield dearth; Benge’s homecoming

Photo credit: Ty Lohr

I have absolutely no problem giving Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy a great, big, fat mulligan for his rough performance Thursday in a 9-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

He allowed a career-worst 11 hits and eight runs (seven earned) in only 4 ⅔ innings pitched. Bundy had allowed eight runs (five earned) in his five previous starts combined.

You have to go back to July 23 of last year for a Bundy start that was similarly shaky. In that one, he allowed seven earned runs on eight hits and three walks in 5 ⅓ innings.

In this one, Bundy put the Orioles into an early hole by giving up a two-run homer to C.J. Cron in the first, a two-run homer to Wilson Ramos in the second and two more runs in the third.

The Orioles were down, 6-0, before they came to the plate for the third time. Pretty astounding considering Bundy had allowed fewer earned runs in his first 31 ⅔ innings.

“Down 4-0 by the second inning, that’s pretty tough to get out of,” Bundy said. “I just didn’t really have good command.”

What went wrong?

Well, Bundy’s fastball command was shaky and he elevated several pitches. So he tried to make adjustments. And that didn’t work.

“I was trying to mix it up even more than I was, throw the curveball a little bit more and they were able to hit that, too,” Bundy said. “They got off to a hot start there in two innings and I couldn’t really slow them down.”

It happens. A whole lot more to other Orioles’ pitchers in the past few years. So, Bundy, definitely, gets an easy pass for Thursday.

Beckham out at least six weeks; middle infield depth tested

Orioles infielder Tim Beckham had core muscle — groin — surgery on Thursday in Philadelphia and will be out at least six to seven weeks, according to Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

That’s obviously tough news for Beckham, but Showalter spun it a little, saying Beckham now has “peace of mind,” because he’s been dealing with groin soreness intermittently for a while.

With Beckham out likely until at least mid-June, the assumption is that Jace Peterson, picked up Tuesday on waivers from the New York Yankees, will get the bulk of playing time at second base, at least until Jonathan Schoop (oblique) returns. Schoop will fly to Sarasota on Sunday and might be able to play in an extended spring game as early as Wednesday.

Peterson has impressed enough in his brief time as an Oriole. He had a two-run double Wednesday and he made a heady move Thursday, stealing third when the Rays were shifted to the right side, leaving the base open.

But the fact that the Orioles grabbed a guy off waivers and he is now going to be a starter isn’t simply about injuries to Beckham and Schoop.

It’s an indictment of three things:

  1. The Orioles’ decision not to re-sign Ryan Flaherty this offseason/spring or replace him with another established utility infielder.
  1. The club’s lack of middle infield talent in the organization. Of the Orioles’ Top 30 prospects according to mlb.com, only two are middle infielders: Adam Hall (20th) and Mason McCoy (30th), both drafted last year. Hall, the Orioles’ second-rounder in 2017, is 18 and in extended spring. McCoy is at Low-A Delmarva. Adrian Marin hasn’t panned out and Ryan Mountcastle, the organization’s No. 2 prospect, has moved from shortstop to third base (and may end up at first eventually). The rest of the club’s minor leaguers are either all-glove and no-bat or the opposite. There doesn’t seem to be one close to the majors who can bring both sides of the game.
  1. Steve Wilkerson’s 50-game suspension for testing positive for amphetamines in December. Had Wilkerson, an eighth-rounder in 2014 out of Clemson, not failed, he’d likely be with the Orioles right now. And he’d likely be getting a chunk of playing time all over the diamond.

Cool homecoming for Benge

You have to love when good things happen to good people — especially a local boy.

Joe Benge was at Camden Yards this week as the first-year head athletic trainer of the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s the eighth season in the Rays’ organization for Benge, a Calvert Hall and Loyola University graduate.

Prior to working with Tampa Bay, Benge spent 10 seasons in his hometown organization, including four as the head athletic trainer for the Double-A Bowie Baysox.

Benge, 40, climbed the ladder rung by rung throughout his career and it’s excellent to see that hard work paying off as the top trainer for the Rays.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. chico salmon

    April 27, 2018 at 7:57 am

    I must admit to being stunned by this start to the season. I’m too stunned to think of any other words to describe how I feel except stunned. Man, it really sucks.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 27, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Not good, Chico. Not good.

  2. Orial

    April 27, 2018 at 8:19 am

    You’ve nailed all the major organizational flaws in this summary Dan. If there’s one blemish on Duquette’s tenure it’s his inability to build a farm system. Question–does Peterson have the arm strength to play third when Schoop returns?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      April 27, 2018 at 8:37 am

      I understand everybody bashing Duquette, I do, the buck stops here and all that. But I think it’s a bit unfair to the guy. The organization’s problem is they simply don’t have the funds to buy players and eat huge failed contracts like the Sox or Yankees do.

      In fairness to you Orial, you did say the “ONE blemish on Duquette” was the inability to build a farm system, but really, can you remember how bad the system was before his arrival? Seems to me, that there are way more good young players in our minor leagues than before Dan Duquette took over.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 27, 2018 at 8:45 am

      I would agree somewhat here. The system is deeper than it was when Duquette took over. But it’s still not deep enough. Especially with the international talent spigot completely turned off.

      • Osfan73

        April 27, 2018 at 10:32 am

        Amen on the international spigot Mr. Connolly. When a team doesn’t have the fundage of the Yankees, Red Sox etc…then every other means of acquiring talent should be and has to be used. If not then you’re not doing everything you can to compete, and putting yourself behind the competition from the very beginning!

  3. Creatively_19

    April 27, 2018 at 8:37 am

    I feel like a disproportionate amount of blame can be assigned to the fact that the O’s didn’t bring back Flaherty. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the team went 519-453 while he was a member of the organization. Obviously he was the glue holding this whole thing together.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 27, 2018 at 8:48 am

      I appreciate the sarcasm. If it were the bar, you’d have a drink chip. And I do think a lot has been made of Flaherty’s presence and absence in the last few months. But not having him or a guy like him helps to expose the lack of depth, right?

  4. Bkr555

    April 27, 2018 at 9:17 am

    My approach would be to resign Duquette and start over. First would be to get rid of Showalter, Coolbaugh and Mcdowell. They seem completely unable to adjust to this situation. Second, start shopping Manny and Schoop now(or resign either or both now if it is possible…sure, why not). They should consider releasing Tillman, Beckham, Rasmus, Valencia and Wright. End the relationship with Trumbo and Davis if it ever becomes possible. Then use as many young players to get them some experience. I have lost all confidence in Showalter to lead…from Davis leading off, to not have short relievers available in winnable games, to completely botching last years stretch run. Frankly I can’t even remember one thing Showalter does well.

    • Bancells Moustache

      April 27, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Gasp! Criticism levied not at professional punching bag Duquette but, rather, His Holiness himself? Do you not understand that, since Showalter delivered a series of second and third place finishes, he is above reproach for this mess and should be given absolute control over the entire organization?

    • Dan Connolly

      April 27, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      That is an interesting take, BK. And always an interesting retort, Stache.

  5. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    April 27, 2018 at 9:42 am

    I am not concerned about Bundy’s poor performance. Every pitcher has those type of games. I think he will bounce back. He is a very talented pitcher.

    The way this team was put together has alot to do with their dismal performance. As noted the decision not to have a veteran utility player on the roster coupled with a lack of positional depth has hurt this team.

    Bringing in Danny Valencia to fill in at 3b and 1b was a mistake imo. I thought they should have brought in Moustakas to play 3b. With Beckham as their utility player.

    Also, they put too much emphasis on rule 5 players. Santander must stay on the team for amother 20 plus games. At this point he is not a mlb player hitting or fielding wise. I said this before they are looking more like the 88 team everyday.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 27, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Well, Moustakas and Valencia aren’t exactly financial apples to apples. And Moustakas is a swing and miss type too. But could they have used him, sure. But he did ultimately sign with the only team he has known. So you weren’t getting him for the same deal likely either.

  6. Dblack2508

    April 27, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Wow is all I can say, where are the fundamentals of these players on defense? A year ago I might my opinion clear on social media about selling expiring contracts,. The problem IMO is a reactive front office not a proactive front office. They should push to sign Schoop, if not move him while his value is high. If not. a year from now they will be in the same position as they are now with Manny.

  7. Eldersburg Enigma

    April 27, 2018 at 11:11 am

    It’s very impressive that the infield depth has become a bigger issue than the outfield depth, because let’s face it, the O’s have a first baseman in LF, a should-be corner OF in CF, and a minor leaguer in right field who shares time with a fifth OF in Gentry.

    I’ve publicly advocated to have Trumbo play RF every day when he returns, and that’s not a good thing. And yet the IF is a bigger problem than the outfield. That speaks volumes.

    By the way, anyone else observe that Brach now throws 93/94 rather than 96/97?

    • Dan Connolly

      April 27, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      The other part too is they have some OFers in the minors that are close.

  8. ATCguy

    April 27, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    While I know that teams usually wait until the 40-game mark (25%) to really see where they are… I’m pretty sure that it’s pretty obvious already what this team is. Even if you discount the injuries, the cold bats, the shaky starts… the hole has already been dug. As such, and just as I wondered last week if the front office already considers Machado gone … so too might now be a good time for the ownership to decide if they intend on bringing DD back after this season. If not, maybe the first part of Bkr555’s sentiment above might be worth considering… especially before the wheeling & dealing of trade deadline begins. While I’ve never been on the “DD’s a dummy” bandwagon, I have questioned some of the personnel moves by the team. The big question has always been, just who’s making those decisions… and because of that, I don’t know if DD is the problem or not. But, whatever… if he’s not coming back, then maybe it’d be good to get someone new in earlier… let them get up to speed with the team & the farm… and then be in a better position to negotiate at the deadline, and a jumpstart on next year & beyond. In re Showalter & the coaching staff… well, no matter how knowledgable & good you are, you can only work with what you have. I have my doubts about some’s ability to effectively communicate & get through to the players, but… if you have talent that won’t can’t or willingly won’t heed your advise, then there’s not much they can do. They work with what they have been given. Just some random thoughts this morning…

    • Dan Connolly

      April 27, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      Random but makes sense.

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