HRs hurt Bundy again in 'embarrassing' start

June 1st, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- Last season, there were few pitchers who were better at preventing home runs than . This season, the opposite has been true.

Bundy allowed three home runs in the Angels’ 6-1 loss to the Giants on Monday at Oracle Park, the continuation of a trend that has pestered him all season generally, and his last couple of starts specifically.

“He was bitten by the homer. No question,” said manager Joe Maddon. “That was the difference in the game.”

The home run ball was not just the difference against the Giants, but in Bundy’s last several outings.

Bundy has now allowed multiple home runs in three consecutive outings, giving up seven long balls to the Red Sox, A’s and Giants. The last time Bundy allowed three or more home runs in a single game was on April 11, 2019, as a member of the Orioles, when he surrendered four to the A’s. Compared to 2020, Bundy allowed multiple home runs in a game on just one occasion.

Evan Longoria got the Giants’ home run parade started with a two-run shot in the fourth inning. LaMonte Wade Jr., who launched a foul ball into McCovey Cove in the first, hit a towering solo shot onto the right-field arcade in the fifth. In the sixth, Mauricio Dubón provided the finishing blow, knocking Bundy out of the ballgame with a solo shot.

Part of Longoria, Wade and Dubón’s ability to barrel up the ball was due to missed locations.

Against Longoria, the setup was down and in. The pitch ended up middle-in.

Against Wade, the setup was outside. The pitch again ended up middle-in.

Against Dubón, the setup was low. The pitch ended up upper-middle.

“The pitch to Longo wasn’t horrible. It was coming in on him, which normally is not a bad spot, but he got the barrel to it,” Maddon said. “The other two kind of surprised me. Dubón, I mean, it’s just a fly ball to left-center that kept going -- he hit it well, don’t get me wrong. And then Wade with two outs and nobody on, that just popped up there.”

Perhaps Bundy can find solace in knowing that May is over.

Bundy began the month with a quality start against the Mariners, and it all went downhill from there. In his final four starts, Bundy was tagged for 21 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. Bundy entered May with a 4.20 ERA and a 4.01 FIP -- going into June, his ERA is up to 6.49 and FIP up to 5.08, looking nothing like the pitcher who garnered AL Cy Young Award votes a season ago.

While the end result of Monday’s start was “embarrassing,” in Bundy’s words, the right-hander’s outing wasn’t a complete net negative.

Prior to the Giants piling on home runs, Bundy began his outing with three scoreless frames and got into the sixth before being pulled. Before facing San Francisco, Bundy didn't make it past the fourth against the Dodgers, Red Sox and A’s. The right-hander also got some good action on his curveball, inducing nine called strikes and whiffs. Still, Bundy remained critical.

“Not good,” Bundy said. “That’s four or five starts in a row now. We got the loss, first of all -- that’s what’s worse -- but yeah, it’s not good.”

The Angels are already trying to hold their heads above water as is with injuries on both sides of the ball. Bundy has shown what the best version of himself can look like, and as the calendar turns over to June, Los Angeles is hoping that pitcher appears.