Whether he's been the stellar edition of himself that he was to start the season, the limited one who struggled in early May, or the more recent one who has regained his top-of-the-rotation form, Dylan Bundy has had home runs follow him at every turn this season.
In Sunday's 10-4 win over the Marlins, the only two blemishes on Bundy's line were a solo home run by Justin Bour in the fourth inning and a three-run homer in the sixth by Miami All-Star first baseman.
They were Bundy’s 17th and 18th home runs allowed this season, and made it so 25 of the past 28 runs he's allowed over his past eight starts have been via home run, and 34 of the 44 runs overall.
"I think the one that will bite him today is the three-run one," manager Buck Showalter said. "Usually, they are solo and for the most part, he always seems to be a pitch away. It's been a challenge for all of our starters it seems like."
"It doesn't matter how they get the runs," Bundy said. "They got them today. I haven't really looked into it too much, but I've just got to get the ball down."
The long ball has been responsible for most of Bundy's headaches this season, and when he avoids them, he typically finds success. He'd posted back-to-back shutouts in his previous two starts, and with 10.04 strikeouts per nine innings this season, is missing bats at the highest rate of his career.
But a career-high home run/fly ball rate of 15.7 percent has made it so there's been plenty of damage. Eight of the home runs he's allowed have been solo home runs, helping keep his ERA at a reasonable 3.81.
That early-May stretch during which he allowed nine home runs and 22 runs in nine innings was fueled largely by home runs, too, and Bundy said then that it was a matter of finishing his pitches and not leaving them over the plate. Bour hit an elevated changeup for his second home run.
"I thought he got a little tired and started elevating the ball a little bit," Showalter said.