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Orioles hoping Dylan Bundy finds command, and with it, limits home runs down stretch

When the Orioles last faced the New York Mets in early June, Dylan Bundy was in the midst of one of the dominant stretches that have come to define his career. His seven shutout innings June 6 were part of a six-start stretch in which he had a 2.09 ERA with 47 strikeouts and a 0.88 WHIP in 43 innings.

But on either side of that stretch, Bundy was in a run during which his command eluded him — and the result was a lot of home runs. Bundy has largely scuffled through his past eight starts, with just two quality starts and a 6.75 ERA thanks to 13 home runs allowed in 42 innings.

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After his previous start, when the Boston Red Sox homered off him twice, Bundy lamented the fine line between missing off the plate and walking batters and missing over the plate and watching the ball leave the field.

“I think the biggest thing that frustrates him is his command,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He can go through every one of those with the home runs and what have you, and can say, ‘Here’s where I was trying to throw it and here’s where it ended up.’ When he’s had some of those outings where it didn’t matter who was in the batter’s box, he was executing pitches — it’s there.”

Bundy has struggled some with home runs even when things were going well. After he allowed nine home runs over three starts from April 26 to May 8, effectively erasing his outstanding April in the process, he allowed six home runs, accounting for nine of the 10 runs he allowed, over a six-start span beginning May 13.

As a result, his 29 home runs allowed lead the majors — and that’s without the three he allowed during the July 25 game against the Red Sox that was postponed because of inclement weather.

Showalter believes Bundy is capable of limiting the homers and finishing strong down the stretch.

“Dylan’s as stable and mature and competitive a guy at a young age,” Showalter said. “I’m reminded, me and y’all, that this guy is barely older than Yefry Ramírez. Sometimes we act like he’s been here a while, comparatively speaking, but this is a young guy.”

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