Fernandez on Bundy’s mind as he pitches
Marlins ace ‘a great guy,’ rookie says; rotation remains unsettled
To Orioles rookie right-hander Dylan Bundy, Sunday was going to be a “sad day, no matter what happened,” in his final regular-season home start of 2016.
The tragic loss of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died Sunday in an overnight boating accident on a jetty off Miami Beach, hit every major league clubhouse hard in one way or another.
Six years ago, Bundy and Fernandez were peers in the Aflac All-American Baseball Classic in San Diego, with Bundy being held off the mound but lining out against Fernandez at the plate.
Two summers later, they were on parallel fast tracks through the Single-A South Atlantic League, Bundy at one point not allowing an earned run in 30 innings for Delmarva and Fernandez striking out 99 in 79 innings with a 1.49 ERA for Greensboro.
Before Bundy took the mound Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, those few memories came back in a big way as he and his teammates stood silent watching the various news conferences.
“Basically, we just lost a great guy as a person,” Bundy said. “Everybody knows how good he was on the field, but he was a better person.
“It was in the back of your head — we had almost our whole team watching the press conference. It hits us all, even if you didn’t know him. You saw the way he was on the field. Like everybody said, he made the game seem fun.”
Once the game began, Bundy was able to leave all that behind him and pitch another fine outing at Camden Yards, where he’s seemed to be at his best this season.
With five innings of three-hit, one-run ball against the Diamondbacks, Bundy earned a win to improve to 10-6 with a 4.02 ERA in a rookie season that began with him in the bullpen and will end with him as an important part of the rotation.
Said Orioles manager Buck Showalter: “The team allowed him to win 10 games, and the doctors allowed him to win 10, and most of all, he did. But where we hoped he’d end up this year, five [wins] would have not surprised me, but10 would have been a little bit of a stretch.” Rotation still unsettled: Showalter said it’s unclear whether all six of the team’s starting pitchers will make a start over the final six games of the regular season.
Kevin Gausman and Chris Tillman are on track to start Tuesday and Wednesday in Toronto, and Bundy’s next start is still to be determined after his win Sunday.
Assuming Gausman will come back for Game 162 next Sunday in New York, there might be no rotation turn for either Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley or Yovani Gallardo.
“I’m waiting to gather all of the information,” Showalter said. “I’ve been looking at everybody’s numbers in Toronto.”
Miley was supposed to go on paternity leave and miss the Blue Jays series, but the plan is for him to wait until the baby’s Oct. 7 due date. He allowed one run Saturday in 82⁄ innings against Arizona, narrowly missing a shutout, and has given up one run in 122⁄ innings over his past two starts.
Jimenez has a 2.85 ERA in six starts since returning to the rotation, and Gallardo overcame another long layoff to allow two runs in six innings in Friday’s win over Arizona. Schoop still slumping: After going hitless in his three at-bats Sunday, second baseman Jonathan Schoop is batting .156 (14-for-90) in September. Showalter said he hopes the slump ends quickly.
“He’s gone through some periods where all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it clicks for a week,” Showalter said. Around the horn: Local Paralympian gold-medal swimmers Brad Snyder and McKenzie Coan threw out ceremonial first pitches before the game Sunday. Coan, a junior at Loyola Maryland, won three gold medals and a silver in Rio de Janeiro, while Snyder, a Baltimore native, brought home three gold medals. The Orioles won a franchise-high 14 interleague games this year.
Starters: TBA vs. Yankees’ Michael Pineda (6-11, 4.89) or TBA