Bundy says arm feels strong

Rookie doesn’t blame fa­tigue for O’s loss, will be watched as he ap­proaches high in in­nings

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Eduardo A. Encina

ST. PETERS­BURG, FLA. — Ori­oles rookie right-han­der Dy­lan Bundy is nav­i­gat­ing through un­charted ter­ri­tory in Septem­ber. His pitch counts have climbed into the 90s, and the 23-year-old is near­ing the 100-in­ning mark for the first time since his first pro­fes­sional sea­son — also the first time since he un­der­went Tommy John el­bow re­con­struc­tion in 2013.

But Bundy said his arm feels strong and he shrugged off any no­tion that fa­tigue is set­ting in after the sec­ond-short­est start of his ca­reer in Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon’s 7-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I was telling the guys to­day, I felt bet­ter to­day than I have in a cou­ple of my past starts,” Bundy said after last­ing just 32⁄ in­nings Wed­nes­day, his short­est start since he went 31⁄ in his first big league start July 17, also at Trop­i­cana Field. “I felt great. Arm’s not an is­sue any­more. I’m just try­ing to get bet­ter and watch video and keep do­ing what I’m sup­posed to be do­ing.”

So ac­cord­ing to Bundy, any strug­gles have more to do with adapt­ing to be­ing a big league starter than with any­thing phys­i­cal.

Still, the Ori­oles have a close eye on Bundy down the stretch. He will likely get an ex­tra day off be­fore his next start, in Bos­ton. Over his next two starts, he could Ori­oles rookie Dy­lan Bundy lasted 32⁄ in­nings against the Rays on Wed­nes­day, the sec­ond-short­est start of his ca­reer. Fri­day, 7:10 p.m. TV: MASN2 Ra­dio: 105.7 FM AL EAST Bos.* Tor. O’s N.Y. T.B. W-L 77-61 77-62 76-63 73-65 59-79 GB — 11⁄ 4 18

sur­pass his ca­reer-high in­nings mark of 1032⁄ in­nings in 2012, his first year in pro­fes­sional base­ball.

“We take a look ev­ery day at it,” man­ager Buck Showal­ter said. “We look at his work day, his body of work. He had some out­ings where he didn’t com­mand the ball as well. So have all the other guys that have thrown 200 in­nings in their ca­reer. Any­body who has got some magic for­mula on that … and what’s hap­pened some­times when he’s had an out­ing like that, he’s bounced back and had a real good one.”

The re­turn of right-han­der Chris Till­man from the dis­abled list will give Showal­ter six starters to choose from. Whether Bundy will get added rest be­cause of it re­mains to be seen, but Showal­ter in­di­cated it will be con­sid­ered.

Bundy is 4-4 with a 5.13 ERA in eight starts on four days’ rest, and hasn’t al­lowed a run in 122⁄ in­nings over two starts with one ex­tra day of rest.

Over Bundy’s past five starts, he has a 6.46 ERA and has seen his sea­son ERA jump from 2.93 to 3.82.

“We’re look­ing at it, just like [pitch­ing coach Dave Wal­lace] and [bullpen coach] Dom [Chiti] and I sat down to­day and looked at all the matchups as we go for­ward and we’ll put our best feet for­ward. And if we feel like Dy­lan’s the guy we’ll run him out there again,” Showal­ter said.

De­spite fail­ing to get through five in­nings for the third time in five starts — he has also al­lowed five runs in three of his past five — it ap­pears that Bundy still has ex­em­plary stuff. He struck out seven bat­ters Wed­nes­day, and his av­er­age fast­ball ve­loc­ity of 95.6 mph was his high­est in his past seven starts, ac­cord­ing to Brooks Base­ball. He got 15 swings and misses on the day, but the Rays es­ca­lated his pitch count by ex­tend­ing at-bats with foul balls.

“His stuff was good,” Showal­ter said. “In fact, he was car­ry­ing a good fast­ball to­day. … He jerked a cou­ple of balls for home runs. He was try­ing to go away and jerked them mid­dle-in where you don’t want to throw the ball. He paid the price.”

Bundy has al­lowed five homers in his two starts against the Rays; Tampa Bay hit two Wed­nes­day.

Kevin Kier­maier jumped on a Kevin Kier­maier, who had home­red in the first in­ning, sin­gles in a fourthin­ning run to tie the game at 5 and chase Ori­oles starter Dy­lan Bundy. 94 mph, first-pitch fast­ball from Bundy in the first in­ning, but that run didn’t hurt him.

Even the two-run homer he al­lowed to Nick Franklin in the third in­ning on an 0-2 pitch wasn’t overly dam­ag­ing.

But the full-count fast­ball over the outer cor­ner that Kier­maier swat­ted into left field with two outs in the fourth was the dev­as­tat­ing blow that ended Bundy’s day. It was an at-bat that Bundy had won of­ten over his brief time as a starter, us­ing all of his pitches ef­fec­tively when be­hind in the count.

Bundy found him­self in a bases­loaded jam, par­tially be­cause he is­sued two walks. He has strug­gled with his com­mand of late, with 13 walks over his past four out­ings.

“Just bat­tling the whole time, ever since pitch one,” Bundy said. “They were foul­ing off the pitches that were good and hit­ting the ones that weren’t so good, I thought. Just base­ball. Got to get bet­ter and watch some video on them and get bet­ter.”

Bundy fell be­hind Kier­maier 3-1 be­fore work­ing the count full by get­ting him to swing through a changeup and foul off an­other be­fore go­ing low and away with a 95-mph fast­ball.

“It was good be­cause it wasn’t over the plate, but it would have been ball four and a run would have scored any­way if he didn’t swing,” Bundy said. “So, he just stuck his bar­rel out and hit it. They were on it to­day. Got to give it up to them.”

Kier­maier’s hit — which tied the game at 5 — chased Bundy, end­ing his 33-pitch fourth in­ning. Bundy failed to hold a lead given to him for the sec­ond time that day.

“I think I got us down a run and they got back on top and I gave it up again and they got us back on top,” Bundy said. “You want go out there, and es­pe­cially the sec­ond or third time, get a shut­down in­ning. I wasn’t able to do it this time. Hope­fully I can do it next time.”

CHRIS O’MEARA/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

WILL VRAGOVIC /TAMPA BAY TIMES

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