FORT MYERS, Fla. - Dylan Bundy returned to the ballpark tonight where he debuted in the Grapefruit League last spring. He won’t leave here feeling all warm and fuzzy.
Bundy wasn’t pleased with his performance for the Orioles tonight. The two walks in two innings. Only 18 strikes among his 35 pitches. The drop in velocity.
“Two walks. I’m never happy with that,” he said. “Leave a fastball up in the zone and he (Mitch Maier) hits it down the line. But really, the two walks are about the only thing I’m concerned with.”
Bundy’s fastball was clocked at 90-93 mph.
“Last year, I was throwing harder, but I’m still working on some things, trying to figure out what I was doing in high school ball and trying to get back to it,” he said.
“Mechanics. My leg kick. My drive to home plate is slow right now. Rhythm is a little off.”
As for the 18 strikes he threw, Bundy said, “That’s very disappointing. That was horrible.”
“I was out of whack today,” he added. “I’ve got to get back to the stuff I was doing.”
Bundy said he wasn’t nearly as nervous tonight as last spring when he pitched here, and it helped that he didn’t come out of the bullpen.
“I’m more comfortable starting. That’s what I’ve done my whole life,” he said.
Kevin Gausman also is used to starting, but he looked right at home pitching in relief again tonight.
Gausman was sensational, shutting out the Red Sox on two hits in three innings, striking out three and throwing 25 of his 33 pitches for strikes.
“I felt good and that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “I felt comfortable out there. It was fun. It’s always fun to go out there and pitch in a place that you haven’t been. It’s a great atmosphere and fun to be out there.”
Are the nerves gone?
“Pretty much,” he replied. “There’s still a little bit of nerves. I want to pitch well, things like that. I tell myself it’s baseball. I’ve been playing the same game for I don’t know how long. I just try to focus on things you can control.”
Gausman was scheduled to throw two innings, but his low pitch count allowed him to return for the fifth.
“I think they wanted me to get a few more pitches in there,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was going to go the whole inning. Luckily, it turned out to be a quick inning.”
This was the first time that Bundy and Gausman pitched in the same game. The plan, of course, is to get them in the same major league rotation.
“It was cool,” Gausman said. “Obviously, we’re around each other every day. We’re paired in about every sense by Orioles fans.
“Obviously, it was cool. It was kind of cool to know what inning I was going to be throwing, and obviously, I was trying to watch him get ready for the game and not be out of the ‘pen.”
Mike Belfiore followed Gausman and tossed two scoreless innings, allowing three hits, walking none and striking out four.
Update: Jason Pridie’s two-run double in the top of the ninth increased the Orioles’ lead to 4-1.
Pridie has eight RBIs in 19 at-bats this spring in games that count in the Grapefruit League stats.
Pridie then scored on an Xavier Avery RBI single to give the Orioles a 5-1 advantage headed to the bottom of the ninth.
Update II: Zach Clark allowed a run in the ninth, his second inning of work.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 2.