BALTIMORE -- It was easy to get used to Orioles ace Dylan Bundy pitching endless quality starts at the beginning of the season, but as his total number of innings approached the century mark over his past few outings, his performance started to dip. The Orioles thought an easy remedy
BALTIMORE -- It was easy to get used to Orioles ace Dylan Bundy pitching endless quality starts at the beginning of the season, but as his total number of innings approached the century mark over his past few outings, his performance started to dip. The Orioles thought an easy remedy would be two days of extra rest after his June 24 outing, but instead, Saturday was his shortest outing of the year during a 10-3 loss to the Rays.
Bundy exited after four innings, having thrown 99 pitches and allowed five runs on seven hits, including three home runs. A 31-pitch first inning got Bundy off to a slow start, followed by a 15-pitch at-bat from Logan Morrison in the fourth that raised his pitch count too high to come back out for the fifth.
"Yeah, the long ball got me in trouble today, obviously," Bundy said. "I mean, just pitches right down the middle or pitches that were up in the zone and they were able to hammer today, so, tough gameplan. They came out swinging the bats early and I tried to manage it, but wasn't able to today."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter thought Bundy started a little strong after the two extra days of rest, so Baltimore will try the righty back on normal rest for his next start in Minnesota, his last start before the All-Star break. Showalter's plan is for Bundy to be the fifth starter after the break, which would give him 11 days of rest to rejuvenate his arm.
"I mean, I just have to alter my routine every five days, but that's fine," Bundy said. "I know when I'm going to start and that's just another excuse if I'm going to use it. Extra rest is always a good thing. You never really complain about an extra day of rest."
Last year, Bundy made the transition from reliever to starter in mid-July and ended the year with 109 2/3 total innings. This season -- his first as a full-time starter -- Bundy has pitched 103 innings through 17 starts and the Orioles plan to monitor how many innings he will take on this season.
Bundy started the year with 10 quality starts in his first 11 outings. Since then, he has made it through the sixth inning just twice in six starts and watched his ERA jump from 2.89 to 4.02.
"There's always a reason things happen," Showalter said. "[Pitching more innings] could always play a part in it. He's pitched more innings than this in his career. I'm going to give Tampa Bay the credit. They're doing a lot of things right. They're clicking. I know Dylan. He usually rights the ship. He had a couple touch-and-feels in between. That was the only thing I had concern with, that he might be a little too strong."
Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.