The Angels now have their official first look at Dylan Bundy, and it was the exact version they envisioned when they acquired him from the Orioles for four Minor Leaguers in early December.
Bundy was dominant in his Angels debut, throwing 6 2/3 strong innings with one run allowed on three hits and seven strikeouts in a 4-1 win over the A’s on Saturday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum. Bundy retired the first eight batters he faced, and the only hits he allowed came on a single from Austin Allen in the third, a single from Ramón Laureano in the fourth and a double from Stephen Piscotty in the seventh.
“It means a lot, first win in the new uniform,” Bundy said. “I felt good with all four pitches, or five if you can include the two-seam. Worked the curveball in there later in the game."
Bundy was so impressive that he received high praise from shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who compared him to a Hall of Famer with how quickly and effectively he worked.
“To me, he looked like Greg Maddux out there,” said Simmons, who smacked an RBI double as part of a three-run fifth. “He was hitting his spots and making his pitches. Everything was working. He had guys swinging and missing by a lot, so he looked really good to me.”
Bundy made excellent use of his off-speed pitches, throwing them more often than his fastball. Of Bundy’s 90 pitches, 40 were fastballs, 30 were sliders, 12 were changeups and eight were curveballs. Bundy registered eight swinging strikes with the slider and three with his changeup.
The righty said that was part of the plan and something he’ll continue to do going forward -- throwing what he considers his best pitches instead of simply pumping fastballs. His four-seamers averaged 92.3 mph and didn't get any swinging strikes.
“Every hitter, they want to hit a fastball,” Bundy said. “They don't want to hit a nasty slider on the outer half of the plate or a split-finger or changeup down and away. They don't want to hit those.”
The Angels believe a change of scenery outside of the hitter-friendly Camden Yards and the homer-happy AL East could help Bundy this season. He’s also just 27 years old and remains under team control through next season. Angels manager Joe Maddon was impressed with Bundy in Spring Training and summer camp, so his stellar outing didn’t come as a surprise.
“His stuff, it just keeps getting better,” Maddon said. “In the short camp that we just had, he kept getting better, and you saw it again here today. He pitched with a lot of confidence and felt strong. And he pitched in a tough division in the past with a team that lost a lot of games. Mentally, it’s not an easy thing to do. So, tough guy, and he's the kind of guy that fits in any clubhouse.”
Bundy didn’t have a runner reach second base until Piscotty’s double with two outs in the seventh that chased him from the game. Bundy was charged with a run after reliever Keynan Middleton surrendered an RBI single to Robbie Grossman.
A’s manager Bob Melvin credited Bundy for keeping Oakland’s hitters off balance with his assortment of pitches. Bundy became just the third Angels pitcher making a debut to allow four or fewer baserunners in a start of more than six innings, joining Don Lee (1962) and Shohei Ohtani (2018), per Angels PR.
"We didn’t swing the bats great,” Melvin said. “You gotta give Bundy a lot of credit. He mixed it up really well against us and used all three of his pitches effectively."