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:
- The Orioles’ decision not to re-sign Ryan Flaherty this offseason/spring or replace him with another established utility infielder.
- 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.
- 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.