BALTIMORE -- Baltimore righty Dylan Bundy walked off the mound Monday, having been unable to complete the fifth inning for the first time this season. Unfortunately, it was a common sight for the Orioles, who have been bogged down by ineffective pitching -- in both their rotation and bullpen --
BALTIMORE -- Baltimore righty Dylan Bundy walked off the mound Monday, having been unable to complete the fifth inning for the first time this season. Unfortunately, it was a common sight for the Orioles, who have been bogged down by ineffective pitching -- in both their rotation and bullpen -- that is at the crux of the team's recent skid.
Bundy, charged with six earned runs in the 12-0, series-opening loss to the Tribe, is hardly to blame. The 24-year-old has been a rock in the rotation, the only arm the O's can count on consistently. But the righty, who started the season with 11 consecutive starts of six or more innings, isn't perfect. And he showed as much against the Tribe, turning in an uncharacteristic 4 1/3-inning outing that marked his shortest start since Sept. 7, 2016.
"I didn't have anything," said Bundy, who allowed four runs in the fourth inning. "So I was battling out there, trying to get outs, trying to locate as best as I could."
But he couldn't battle his way through six, with Jason Kipnis' homer and a one-out walk ending his night in the fifth inning. The Orioles have just two quality starts in their past 14 games, one of which has come from Ubaldo Jimenez, who was demoted to the bullpen earlier this year.
The 'pen, which has been forced to pick up a lot of innings, has also struggled as of late. On Monday, Vidal Nuno came on in relief and gave up a two-run homer to Carlos Santana, bringing Bundy's line to six runs and highlighting the O's woes in middle relief.
The bullpen, missing both Darren O'Day and closer Zach Britton, has allowed 14 runs over 13 1/3 innings in the first four games of the homestand. If the O's -- who have allowed five or more runs in 16 consecutive games -- are going to turn things around, they're going to need people to step up, both in the rotation and in relief.
"We haven't had anybody consistently seize that job kind of like [reliever] Mychal [Givens] a couple years ago came in [and did]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "But it's hard to protect those short outings, where you can try to develop them, get them on their feet and let them have a couple outings and not overextend them. It's tough to give them that leeway and experience when you need innings. …They know. There's a great opportunity there in a real time of need. You can take it and run with it. There have been a lot of opportunities."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.