Bundy bitten by big inning for first time as a starter in Orioles loss to Indians

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Throughout the first half of this season, which he has spent as the Orioles' most reliable pitcher, Dylan Bundy built quality starts by avoiding frames like Monday night’s fourth inning.

But when the Indians batted around off him with four doubles in a four-run fourth, Bundy fell victim to the big inning that has befallen so many other Orioles pitchers this year.

Bundy hadn’t allowed four runs in an inning all season until Monday, and never before as a starting pitcher.

“It’s very unlike Dylan,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He was fighting his command most of the outing, but especially towards the last of it. That’s unlike him, to fight his command like that.”

Bundy said he “didn’t have anything.”

Added Showalter: “He struggled to get through the fourth. It’s just unlike him. It seemed like he was fighting his delivery, fighting his command. We’ve been obviously spoiled at a good level of pitching with him. Tonight, that wasn’t the case.”

Before that fourth inning, Bundy was using his changeup to great effect and neutralizing the left-handed bats in the Indians lineup. He allowed an infield single off his glove with the pitch, but also got three weak outs with it and gave up hardly any strong contact the first time through the order.

The first seven balls put in play by the Indians averaged 83.8 mph, according to Statcast, nearly 10 mph below the league average. Once the fourth inning began, the Indians averaged 99.6 mph on balls in play, including five of the eight over 100 mph. Even the outs were loud, and though Bundy was permitted to finish the fourth inning, he allowed a home run to open the fifth and faced two more batters before giving way to Vidal Nuño.

Avoiding innings like that has helped Bundy to post a 3.72 ERA in this, his first full season as a major league starter. He’s scuffled a bit of late, but seldom has command betrayed him the way it did in the fourth inning Monday.

Bundy sees a common thread through some of his recent problems, one he plans to correct before his next start.

“I’m giving up a lot of runs recently,” Bundy said. “Mainly, it all boils down to command. I’m not commanding the baseball and throwing it where I want to and getting ahead of hitters like I did early in the season. I want to get back to that. I’ll work on it in my bullpen in between here and my next start, and hopefully it gets better.”

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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