BALTIMORE -- The question was whispered against Tampa Bay and was enough to prompt concern in Anaheim. And by the time Orioles starter Dylan Bundy exited Tuesday's game, becoming the first Major League pitcher to allow four home runs without recording an out, it begged to be asked out loud.
Was the right-hander, who was roughed up by the Royals for seven runs in the worst start of his career, physically OK?
"Physically, I'm fine. I'm just not executing the pitches I need to right now," said Bundy, whose abysmal outing paved the way for an eventual 15-7 loss. "I was leaving pitches right down the middle and they were hitting them over the fence. Got us in a 7-0 early hole that we couldn't climb out of."
The Orioles' ace and Opening Day starter, Bundy couldn't record an out, facing seven batters and allowing four homers, two walks and a single. The mystifying performance was the latest blow in a tough season that saw the O's losing skid hit seven with losses in 21 of their last 25 games.
Bundy, who got treatment for a groin issue in California, said he was fine for Tuesday's start. Manager Buck Showalter also downplayed the severity, mentioning just that Bundy had minor issue and physically the right-hander has said he's good to go.
"You are looking for crispness of the pitches. Hasn't been there the past couple starts or outings," catcher Caleb Joseph, who homered in the loss, said of Bundy. "He's obviously capable and there may or may not be other things kind of going on or whatever.
"He wants to get back to that crispness. You are seeing kind of that lazy spin. And he knows it. He knows it's abnormal for him. He's usually extremely great with his accuracy and it hasn't been there the past two or three starts."
As surprising as Bundy's 28-pitch start was, it resembled many of the Orioles' games this season. They got into a big hole early and the offense -- which got homers from Joseph, Chris Davis and Danny Valencia -- couldn't dig out of it.
That the Royals' offense entered the day ranked 28th among 30 clubs in home runs hit mattered little. Bundy, who started off 2018 by allowing just one homer over his first five starts, has now given up nine over his past three games. After owning a sub-2 ERA in his first five outings, he's now at 5.31. The drastic dip in performance is alarming.
Does Bundy feel any different as of late?
"Physically, no. I feel the exact same," Bundy said. "My mechanics feel the same. It just seems like I'm missing off the plate, down or up, and then missing right down the middle and they hit it over the fence. Just gotta get better and work on it in between starts."
The Royals bats were relentless, capitalizing on Bundy's fastball -- down some in velocity -- to pummel the righty. Jorge Soler's two-run homer started things off and Mike Moustakas followed with a solo blast -- his ninth of the year -- which landed out on Eutaw Street. Two pitches later, Salvador Perez deposited Bundy's 90-mph fastball into center field for the Royals' third consecutive homer.
Bundy then walked Lucas Duda on four pitches and Whit Merrifield on six before Alex Gordon sent a 1-1, 89-mph fastball into right-center field to put the Royals up 7-0 and end Bundy's night. The Royals sent 14 batters to the plate in the 10-run first inning, scoring three more off of Mike Wright Jr. Wright was charged with five runs over 4 2/3 innings with Rule 5 Draft pick Pedro Araujo allowing three more in his 2 1/3 innings.
With the loss, the Orioles now hold the worst record (8-27) in baseball.
"You've got to keep your chin up. Somebody's going to pay down the line, somebody here sooner than later," Joseph said. "We're going to catch fire here. We're going to be a force to be reckoned with. We've had our share of butt-whippings the past couple of weeks. We're ready to hand out some ourselves."
Activated from the disabled list prior to the game, second baseman Jonathan Schoop drove in a pair of runs with a ninth-inning single. Schoop hadn't played since he suffered the oblique injury on April 13 at Boston.
"The more I played it went away and now I'm 100 percent back. It's time to play and compete," said Schoop, who batted cleanup in his return.
"That is why I tested it [by swinging hard]. There were a few times I missed the ball and it didn't hurt. I swung and missed a lot of times and I didn't feel it. I hope I can come back out and put the ball in play and help the team win. I got my at-bats. I wasn't focused on the results, I was focused on how I feel and I feel good. I'm ready to go."
Bundy's seven runs allowed ties the club record for a no-out start. Right-hander Joe Coleman also gave up seven runs without getting an out against Cleveland on July 6, 1954. That was the Orioles' inaugural season.
The four homers in one inning ties a Major League record and is the fourth time the Royals have accomplished the feat. The last team to do it was the Orioles on August 19, 2016, against the Royals.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Four of the Royals' batted balls in that first inning exceeded 105 mph, according to Statcast™, as the O's saw their worst start since Zach Britton recorded one out and gave up nine runs to the Yankees on July 30, 2011. In that game, the Orioles surrendered 12 runs in the first. On Tuesday, it was 10 as Wright Jr. gave up three more runs after Bundy exited.
HE SAID IT
"Of course. When you see somebody that's, that good ... His shoulder feels good. He had a little groin thing some, but he said that's fine, not an issue ... If I didn't know better, it's almost he like was going through like a Spring Training dead arm period almost. But his pure velocity or whatever is very similar. It's just the finish on the pitches and some of the command of things. He's usually a guy with really good command." -- Showalter, on concern for Bundy
The Orioles will try to snap their skid with Andrew Cashner on the mound on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET against Royals lefty Eric Skoglund. Shaky defense got Cashner in trouble in the first inning of his Friday outing vs. the A's, as he allowed four runs on back-to-back homers following an error, but he finished effectively, shutting Oakland out over the remainder of his 4 2/3 innings.