ANAHEIM, CALIF. — After a second straight rough outing for Orioles ace Dylan Bundy, manager Buck Showalter acknowledged that there was some concern seeing such a dramatic gap between the pitcher Bundy was in his first five starts and his past two.
Bundy allowed seven runs — five of them earned — including a season-high three homers over 41/3 innings in the Orioles' 10-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night. After opening the season with a 1.42 ERA in his first starts, Bundy has allowed 15 runs in his past two, failing to get out of the fifth inning both times. He allowed just one homer in his first five starts, but had allowed five in his past two times out.
"I know you see a couple in a row like that from a good pitcher you're always concerned if it's something else," Showalter said.
Bundy pointed to getting behind in the count, but he threw 13 of 22 first-pitch strikes. His command was still off, his fastball not as effective as it's been early, which didn't allow Bundy to use his secondary pitches — especially his slider — to induce swings and misses and keep the ball on the ground.
"It's hard to pitch when you're 2-0 and kind of puts [you] in a hole and you have to throw a fastball there," Bundy said. "Just pitching behind in the count the past two starts now and I really got to get ahead of guys to be able to throw pitches where I want to."
Wednesday's outing was also rare in that Bundy allowed a pair of first inning solo homers to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. He had gone into Wednesday's outing having allowed just three hits in the first inning all season, holding opponents to a .143 average.
"It's just normal caution [you have] when there's something [different]," Showalter said before Thursday's game. "You look for things. You watch his workday. He just made some mistakes on some pitches. He couldn't get the count in his favor. Really good pitchers, they are able to get back in the count with a quality strike and he wasn't able to do that last night. He'll be all right."
Showalter pointed out that Bundy had an extra day of rest, something the Orioles have regularly done to keep the 25-year-old fresh. He's been given extra rest in five of his seven starts, pitching to a 4.25 ERA with extra rest. In two starts on regular rest, Bundy has a 2.08 ERA and held batters to a .128 batting average.
Starting pitchers are creatures of routine, but over his career, Bundy has benefited from extra rest, posting a 3.95 ERA in 26 starts when receiving extra days compared with a 4.56 mark in 23 starts when he pitches every five days.
"It's crazy because they pitch every fifth day and you want to give them some time off," Showalter said. "They get an extra day because of the schedule and is it too much time off? I don't know. I just know how they responded and the pitchers we have, every opportunity we have to give them an extra day, we're going to try to do it. Depth there is a little bit of a challenge so I want to make sure I keep that intact. Over the years, I've found that every time you can give a guy an extra day, you're better off giving it to him.
Machado calls Pujols a role model as he nears 3,000 hits
Going into Thursday night's series finale, Orioles shortstop Manny Machado was preparing to potentially watch history, as Pujols entered the night just two hits shy of joining the 3,000 hit club.
Machado, who gushed about idolizing Texas Rangers third baseman Ádrian Beltré when he joined the 3,000-hit club last season, said that he grew up admiring Pujols' game before sharing the field with him the past seven seasons.
"We talk every once in a while," said Machado, who shares agents with Pujols. "You learn by watching him. I grew up watching him and now to see it firsthand for the first six, seven years, it's been amazing to see how great a player he is on and off the field. … He says, 'Work hard on your craft and things will turn out. Once you have a routine, stick with the routine. Just because it doesn't work one day or doesn't work for a week, it doesn't mean it not going to work [in the long run.]. Stay with your routine and try to keep it every day.' If you do that, it's a long season, and in 162 games you'll be all right."
Potentially watching two Dominican-born players reach the 3,000-hit club — and pave their way to the Hall of Fame — firsthand is special for Machado, a Dominican-American who is one of a few players who could reach the mark one day. Machado entered Thursday's game with 903 career hits two months before his 26th birthday.
Sisco returns two days after collision
Sisco returns two days after collision: Orioles catcher Chance Sisco returned to the starting lineup for Thursday's game two days after was forced from the game after colliding with third baseman Pedro Álvarez pursuing a foul pop.
Sisco's head took the brunt of the impact, with Álvarez's forearm hitting his nose. Sisco fell and lay motionless for several moments before sitting up and eventually leaving the game under his own power.
Sisco — who had no concussion symptoms, according to the team — wouldn't have started Wednesday's game regardless with the Orioles facing a left-handed starter.
"We've woken him up two days in a row now," said Showalter, who added that Sisco was fine to play Wednesday. "He's fine. But there's some caution. All of a sudden, with the speed of the game and everything going on, we'll be watching closely. He may have a broken nose, but breathing is no problem. He got hit in the nose pretty good."
"I wish I have half the career Pujols has had and he's still going," Machado said. "I think he could reach 700, but at the end of the day, they're two great role models, two Dominican-born players, two guys I looked up to growing up. Just to have half the career they have is a great accomplishment, because it's not easy getting there. It's a lot of blood, a lot of sweat and tears, a lot of time away from your family, so it's not easy. Just to see it and be a part of it, it's a great honor."
Around the horn
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop returned to Baltimore from Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday and is expected to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment on Friday at Double-A Bowie. He could move to Triple-A Norfolk for Saturday and Sunday if there's inclement weather locally. … Designated hitter Mark Trumbo recorded his first two hits of the season in Wednesday's loss in his second game back, going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. … Jace Peterson's pinch-hit three-run triple in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game was the Orioles' first three-RBI pinch hit in 24 years since Harold Baines did it April 16, 1994, at Texas. … Outfielder Craig Gentry's first-inning triple was his first extra-base hit of the season and his first since homering Aug. 30 against the Seattle Mariners. … Top pitching prospect Hunter Harvey allowed four runs over six hits in four innings with Bowie on Thursday. Harvey had allowed just one earned run in his first three starts spanning 121/3 innings. … Showalter said left-hander Chris Lee (oblique) is nearing pitching in games.