Dylan Bundy’s dramatic decline over his past three starts hit its low point with a thud Tuesday night as the Orioles right-hander failed to get an out in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals, allowing a career-high four home runs before he was pulled from the game.
Bundy’s outing lasted just seven batters, but it was enough for the Royals to take a quick-strike seven-run lead as the Orioles allowed 10 runs in the opening frame in an eventual 15-7 loss that included some dubious history.
Before Bundy, no major league pitcher had ever allowed four homers in a game without recording an out, according to STATS, LLC.
And in the Orioles’ 65 seasons — and the 10,192 games the team has played since moving to Baltimore — what happened Tuesday, a starting pitcher not recording an out while allowing seven or more runs, has only occurred one previous time. In the Orioles’ first season in 1954, Joe Coleman gave up seven runs without recording an out in an 11-3 loss July 6 against the Cleveland Indians.
Bundy’s game score — a metric used to determine the strength of a pitcher’s start — on Tuesday was a minus-19, which according to Baseball Reference was the second-worst game score since 1940. The Oakland Athletics’ Mike Oquist, a former Oriole, recorded a minus-21 score Aug. 3, 1998.
Bundy’s outing also marked the first time an Orioles starter failed to record an out since Sept. 15, 2007, when Kurt Birkins lasted just six batters and allowed six runs before exiting in the first inning of an 8-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Baseball Reference.
The 10 runs the Royals scored against the Orioles in the first inning marked the most an opponent has scored since the New York Yankees got 12 in the opening frame in a 17-3 loss at Yankee Stadium in the second game of a doubleheader July 30, 2011.
“He feels good physically,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Bundy. “I don’t think there’s been many people I’ve had less of an excuse-maker than Dylan. He never grabs hold of anything other than the mirror in front of him. It’s disappointing for him as much as anything.”
Showalter said that Bundy had been dealing with some recent groin tightness, and Bundy acknowledged that it bothered him during his previous start in Anaheim, but said, “it really hasn’t been an issue.”
“Physically I’m fine,” Bundy said. “I’m just not executing the pitches I need to right now. I was leaving pitches right down the middle and they were hitting them over the fence. Got us in a 7-0 early hole that we couldn’t climb out of.”
The Orioles’ loss was their 13th in their past 15 games — they are also 4-21 over their past 25 games — and their 8-27 record for the season stands alone as the worst in baseball.
After opening this season with a remarkable five-start stretch in which he had a 1.42 ERA and allowed just one homer over 31 2/3 innings, Bundy has bottomed out, allowing 19 earned runs in past three starts spanning just nine innings, yielding nine homers over that stretch while seeing his season ERA balloon to 5.31.
The Royals — who entered the night ranked third to last in the majors in homers with 29 in 34 games — took batting practice off Bundy, with three of the first four and four of the first seven batters homering. After an infield single by Jon Jay to open the game, Jorge Soler, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Pérez homered on consecutive at-bats. And after Bundy walked Lucas Duda on four pitches and Whit Merrifield on six, Alex Gordon hit a three-run homer to give the Royals a 7-0 lead and chase Bundy from the game.
To say the Royals jumped on Bundy quickly would be an understatement. Bundy’s outing lasted just 28 pitches, and of his 13 strikes, he didn’t record a single swing-and-miss. Each of the back-to-back-to-back homers allowed by Bundy in the first inning was hit at an exit velocity of at least 106.4 mph and had a hit probability of 89 percent of higher. Soler’s homer came on a changeup high in the zone, and the ensuing three homers came off four-seam fastballs over the plate.
“You are looking for crispness of the pitches and just hasn't been there the past couple starts or outings,” catcher Caleb Joseph said. “He’s obviously capable and there may or may not be other things kind of going on or whatever. … He wants to get back to that kind of crisp fastball and crisp slider. You are just seeing kind of that lazy spin. And he knows it. And that location, that location is abnormal for him. He’s usually extremely great with his accuracy and it hasn’t been there the past two or three starts. Good thing he’s got about 20 more right? So he can turn it around really quick.”
After an outing in which Bundy allowed three homers and seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in his previous start Wednesday in Anaheim, Showalter said Bundy’s sudden struggles were “concerning,” but he blamed the outing on poor command, a sentiment he echoed after Tuesday’s loss.
“Of course [it is concerning],” Showalter said. “When you see somebody that’s that good. His shoulder feels good. He had a little groin that’s fine, not an issue. Like a lot of guys, if I told you every little thing that guys got treated before starts, we’d be in here all day. Guys, bullpen guys, we’re looking at a lot of different things after every game to see if there’s something we need to make an adjustment with. We’ll continue to do that. If I didn’t know better, it’s almost like was going through like a spring training dead-arm period almost. But his pure velocity or whatever is very similar. It’s just the finish on the pitches and some of the command of things. He’s usually a guy with really good command.”
Right-hander Mike Wright didn’t fare much better as the Royals sent 14 batters to the plate in the inning. Wright allowed singles to four of the first five batters he faced, including a two-run single by Moustakas and a sacrifice fly by Pérez.
Moustakas recorded a multihomer game with a two-run homer that paced a three-run fifth inning, hitting the first pitch from reliever Pedro Araujo out of the park to plate two inherited runners charged to Wright. Ryan Goins’ two-run single off Araujo in the sixth gave the Royals a 15-1 lead.
The Orioles hit three solo homers homers on the night . Chris Davis hit a second-inning blast off Royals starter Danny Duffy, who allowed six hits over 5 1/3 innings while striking out five and walking two. Danny Valencia and Caleb Joseph homered in the eighth off reliever Burch Smith.
They scored four runs on the night off Royals right-hander Blaine Boyer. Jonathan Schoop, playing in his first game back after three weeks on the disabled list with an oblique strain, hit a two-run single in the ninth and scored on Valencia’s sacrifice fly. Anthony Santander also had a run-scoring single.
The 20 hits the Orioles allowed Tuesday were the most since allowing 21 hits in a 14-7 loss to the Minnesota Twins on May 22. The 15 runs allowed were the most since last June 23 in a 15-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Yeah, it’s very tough,” Bundy said of the Orioles’ start. “And you want to be the guy that goes out there and stops it. But that’s why there are five of us and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
The seven batters who faced Dylan Bundy:
Jon Jay, infield single to SS
Jorge Soler, 2-run HR to center
Mike Moustakas, HR to right
Salvador Pérez HR to center
Lucas Duda, BB
Whit Merrifield, BB
Alex Gordon, 3-run HR to right
Beaten up early
Dylan Bundy became the first pitcher in modern baseball history to give up four home runs without recording an out. Here are the other starting pitchers to allow at least four home runs in the first inning, according to Baseball Reference’s Play Index:
Pitcher, Team Date Opp. IP ER HR Result
Jeremy Guthrie, Royals 5/25/2015 Yankees 1.0 11 4 L, 14-1
Jose Acevedo, Reds 9/8/2004 Astros 1.0 5 4 L, 5-2
Jeff Austin, Reds 5/28/2003 Braves 0.2 5 4 L, 15-3
Ryan Rupe, Devil Rays 7/26/2001 Angels 1.0 5 4 L, 5-3
Rick Helling, Rangers 5/11/1994 Angels 1.0 9 4 L, 13-1
Catfish Hunter, Yankees 6/17/1977 Red Sox 0.2 4 4 L, 9-4
Jim McGlothlin, Reds 6/10/1973 Cubs 1.0 7 4 L, 9-7
Bubba Church, Cubs 5/13/1954 Giants 1.0 5 4 L, 6-3
Breaking down the home runs
Batter Count Field Pitch Runs scored
Jorge Soler 1-1 Center 84 mph changeup 2
Mike Moustakas 3-2 Right 89 mph fastball Solo
Salvador Pérez 1-0 Center 90 mph fastball Solo
Alex Gordon 1-1 Right 89 mph fastball 3
Bad stretch for Bundy
After a strong start to the season, Orioles starter Dylan Bundy has been hit hard. Here’s a look at his past three starts:
Date Opp. Result IP H R ER HR BB Ks
Tues. vs. Royals L, 15-7 0.0 5 7 7 4 2 0
May 2 at Angels L, 7-10 4.1 7 7 5 3 1 4
April 26 vs. Rays L, 5-9 4.2 11 8 7 2 1 4
Totals 9.0 23 22 19 9 4 8