Fer­nan­dez on Bundy’s mind as he pitches

Mar­lins ace ‘a great guy,’ rookie says; ro­ta­tion re­mains un­set­tled

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Jon Meoli jme­oli@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/JonMe­oli

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

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