Right-hander Dylan Bundy held the Blue Jays to one run over six innings in Tuesday’s 3-2 walk-off loss in Toronto, and even though Bundy had thrown just 89 pitches, manager Buck Showalter turned to the bullpen to start the seventh in a continuing effort to conserve Bundy’s innings.
“I didn’t want to send him back out there and start the next inning,” Showalter said. “He was at what, 88-90 [pitches]? It was a good time to get him, and keep in mind where we are with his season and we’re still hoping to make the playoffs and have him pitch for us in that.”
Bundy, 24, who is in his first season as a full-time major league starter, has pitched 165 1/3 innings this season, which is well over last year’s total of 109 2/3. The club has been tactical in utilizing days off in the second half to give Bundy added rest — he made Tuesday’s start after seven days off — and he’s pitched well with extra time off.
The Orioles don’t have a day off in their next turn in the rotation, but Showalter indicated Wednesday that Bundy likely wouldn’t make his next start in turn to continue to give him extra rest.
“This is all designed for him to pitch in October,” Showalter said. “We’re going to continue to make sure of that. We’ve got some numbers we’re looking at. He’s in good shape right now.
“We’ve been monitoring not only him but all our guys. Knock on wood, but take a look around baseball [at] the health of pitchers, and we’re pretty proud of [ours]. Now that I’ve jinxed us, but it’s hard to do. You’ve got to make some stands and do some things that are tough to do, but it’s hard to go add pitching. We want to keep our commodities healthy.
The Orioles have left-hander Wade Miley (Thursday), right-hander Gabriel Ynoa (Friday) and right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (Saturday) scheduled to start the first three days of the team’s series against the New York Yankees, but the starter for Sunday’s series finale at Yankee Stadium is to be determined.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez would be in line to pitch that day, but the club could also start right-hander Chris Tillman. Showalter has shuffled Tillman and Jimenez in and out of the bullpen in recent weeks, so it’s possible he could do that again and give the start to Tillman.
Tillman’s made two starts against the Yankees this season, and he’s failed to get out of the third inning in both. His shortest start of the season came in his one start at Yankee Stadium, during which he allowed nine runs on seven hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings June 10.
Jimenez also made two starts against the Yankees, both of them in the season’s first month, and he didn’t go deeper than 4 1/3 innings in either. He allowed seven runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings in his one start in New York on April 29.
Ynoa looking to build momentum: After Saturday’s spot start in Cleveland in which he showed promise in his first major league start with the Orioles, Ynoa will remain in the club’s starting rotation and will make his next start Friday against the Yankees.
Ynoa allowed three runs over 4 2/3 innings in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Indians, but Showalter said after that outing that Ynoa presented himself well against baseball’s hottest team.
“He defended himself well the first time,” Showalter said. “Let’s see if he can do it again.”
Showalter will give Ynoa an opportunity to build on his first start, and Ynoa hopes to take advantage of the opportunity to show the Orioles he can be a major league contributor as a starter.
“I think it’s going to benefit my career,” Ynoa said through interpreter Ramon Alarcon. “I’m very confident in myself and my ability and I think can help the team and hopefully I can help the team now and in the future.”
One of several optionable arms the Orioles stockpiled in the offseason and in spring training to improve the organizational pitching depth, Ynoa’s first five outings with the Orioles this season were in relief, and take away a five-run, 1 1/3-inning appearance June 16 against the St. Louis Cardinals and Ynoa allowed just one earned run over 13 1/3 innings during that span.
His numbers at Triple-A Norfolk, where he spent most of the season, weren’t as strong as he posted a 5.25 ERA in 21 starts with the Tides, but he was 5-1 with a 2.87 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break, a turnaround he credited to staying aggressive in the zone.
“Consistency for sure. I was more consistent with my pitches,” he said. “I was trying to stay on top of hitters, get ahead in the count so I was concentrating on attacking the zone.”
With rotation spots open next season, and the starting rotation being the team’s biggest weakness throughout the season, Showalter said Ynoa can use September to make a case for himself to stay.
“Obviously we’re looking,” Showalter said. “It’s been a challenge for us. He’s still 24 years old. There are some things he got a little better at his last two or three starts there. Statistically, he didn’t have that good of a year if you look at the whole body of work, but I think the last month he pitched well. We’ll see. These opportunity as we go forward to make good decisions in the offseason, you need to take it all in. We know March and September are the big fooler months you have to be careful [with].”
Davis is club’s nominee for Marvin Miller award: First baseman Chris Davis is the club’s nominee for the annual Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, given annually by the players union to one player whose “on-field performance and contributions to the community most inspire others to higher levels of achievement.”
Fans can vote for six finalists, one from each division, through Sept. 17 on MLBPLayers.com. Players will select the overall winner from that group.
Center fielder Adam Jones won the award two years ago.
Around the horn: Left-hander Andrew Faulkner cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. Faukner was designated for assignment Friday when the Orioles reinstated shortstop J.J. Hardy from the 60-day disabled list. … The Orioles are scheduled to begin instructional league workouts at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota on Monday. The league was delayed because the team shut down the complex in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida’s Gulf Coast on Sunday night and left some wind damage to the fields.