BALTIMORE—After the Orioles played crisply in their final 10 games before the All-Star break, a rocky first inning from Dylan Bundy started their second half horribly.
Bundy allowed seven runs on eight hits, and was yanked after an inning when manager Brandon Hyde discovered that Bundy had knee soreness.
The evening didn’t get any better after Bundy left when Gabriel Ynoa allowed nine runs, seven of them earned in 5 1/3 innings as the Orioles lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 16-4, on Friday night.
The 16 runs equaled the most given up by the Orioles this season, and the 20 hits was a season high.
Bundy said that he felt the soreness during his warmups but decided against telling Hyde and pitching coach Doug Brocail.
“There might have been a slight thought in there,” Bundy said. “You always want to go out there and give your team a chance and hopefully it will get better throughout the game, but it just didn’t today.”
Hyde didn’t know there was anything wrong, and wouldn’t make excuses for Bundy.
“We were just checking on him after the first inning,” Hyde said. “We just wanted to see how he was physically and he said he was a little sore so we decided to get him out of the game.”
Bundy is now 4-11 with a 5.28 ERA.
“My knee’s a little sore, but I just wasn’t locating and didn’t really have any good movement on my pitches,” Bundy said. “They came out aggressive and hitting the ball where there’s plenty of grass, and I couldn’t slow them down.”
The knee will be checked on Saturday, and Bundy hopes to quickly put Friday’s start behind him.
“Quit giving up hits,” Bundy said. “Trying to hit your location better, throw different pitches. You’re just really trying to do whatever you can to get them to hit the ball right to somebody or get a strikeout.”
Overall, it was an abysmal start to the second half.
“We did not play the game well,” Hyde said. “There are a lot of things to clean up and just get back to work. That was really sloppy defensively and just poor baseball. So, it’s 1 of 162. We have a lot of games left ,and we have to get better.”
Wilkerson gets them out: Hyde used utility player Stevie Wilkerson to pitch the ninth, and he retired Tampa Bay on three fly balls.
“That’s one of the better innings from a position player I’ve ever seen,” Hyde said. “A guy able to throw strike after strike. Got guys to swing the bats early. I’m taking that as a positive tonight.”
Wilkerson was the 31st pitcher used by the Orioles, a club record, and the fourth position player to pitch in 2019. Hanser Alberto, Chris Davis and Jesus Sucre were the others.
Means on All-Star Game: Many Orioles fans stayed up through the end of Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Cleveland just to see if pitcher John Means would get into the game. He didn’t, but that didn’t ruin his experience.
American League manager Alex Cora explained to Means that he was unlikely to get in the game—if it went nine innings.
“I knew before the game I was extra innings,” Means said. He said Cora told him: “I’ve got to plan out 15 innings. I know you’re a starter, you can go longer, so you’re probably going to be the extra-innings guy. If it doesn’t look like it’s going to extra innings, I’ll try to get you in.’”
The AL won, 4-3, and Means was a happy fan.
“Being there, being in that clubhouse with those guys is all the experience that I need. Obviously it would have been cool to get in the game, but honestly I feel like being an All-Star is about being with all the other guys.”
Means got to spend time with the New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia, who’s retiring at the end of the season after a stellar career. He got advice from Sabathia.
“Just the winning mentality,” Means said. “That’s what me and CC were talking about for a little while. He was telling me about it because he was kind of part of a rebuild and he was part of a World Series team. The differences between it and what he’s learned on the path he’s been on.”
Means starts the second game of Saturday’s day/night doubleheader.
Surprise starter for Game 1: Hyde surprised some by naming Aaron Brooks, who was acquired from the Oakland Athletics on waivers on July 6, to start Saturday’s first game.
“We’re going to work him in,” Hyde said. “We’re going to stretch out. He hasn’t thrown in a while. He hasn’t started in a while.”
Brooks, who is 2-3 with a 5.01 ERA, hasn’t started since April 30.
“Always excited for the new opportunity,” Brooks said. “I feel comfortable as a starter.”
Brooks will be the 15th starter used by the Orioles. Including four position players, Brooks will be the 32nd pitcher and 47th player.
“We see him, potentially, possibly, joining the rotation at some point,” Hyde said. “We’ll see how it goes. We’ve got to get him stretched out. It’s going to take a little while before that happens, because he hasn’t pitched.
“We’re going to continue to give guys opportunities to build the talent level in this organization. I think there are going to be lots of opportunities for starts over the last 70-plus games.”
Pitcher David Hess will be the 26th man for the doubleheader.