Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy kicked off his second half of the season Tuesday night by delivering the back end of the team's first consecutive quality starts since the beginning of June, and did so by showing the pitch mix that made him so successful early this year.
"Dylan is a pitcher," manager Buck Showalter said. "I don't think he had a real good feel for his curveball, which is expected, but the rest of the pitches were there for him tonight."
Bundy and his manager said the first two innings of his six-inning outing, during which he allowed the only run on his ledger and half of the four hits, were a bit off, owing to the fact that he hadn't started since July 7. Bundy said he couldn't explain it, but he was just off. Showalter got that message from him as well.
Once Bundy got going, he was able to go back to having the pitch mix he wanted to return to after the All-Star break.
"Later in the game, in the fifth and sixth inning, I started attacking guys more so with the fastball because I showed other pitches I could throw for strikes," he said. "That's the main thing, mixing up pitches and keeping guys off balance."
Indeed, Bundy's mix was a lot like what made him so successful early. He threw 24 sliders out of 100 pitches, harking back to April when he threw it 25 percent of the time and had a 1.65 ERA. As the percentage of sliders he threw shrunk, his ERA climbed.
The slider was back to being an effective pitch for him Tuesday, getting five of his 13 swinging strikes and three groundouts off it without ceding a hit on the pitch, according to Statcast data from BaseballSavant.com.
That allowed him to work effectively with his fastball, which averaged 91.9 mph, and post the team's second straight quality start. He followed Chris Tillman's quality start with another to give the team two in a row for the first time since June 1-2.
"That's two good starts we've gotten in a row. That would certainly bode well if we could continue that pattern," Showalter said.
Bundy said the pitchers thrive when they have a good performance preceding them to strive to match.
“We know we have to have a lot of things clicking to get back to where we want to be,” Showalter said. “I think not only the starters, but just the whole team in general."