Dylan Bundy can’t seem to regain his footing after a hamstring injury.
Bundy served up Greg Bird’s grand slam tonight in a five-run third inning, his pitch count soaring to 78, and the Orioles settled for a split of their four-game series with a 9-0 loss to the Yankees before an announced crowd of 17,808 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles were shut out for the ninth time while falling to 26-67 overall 14-31 at home. They’ve been held to one run or fewer in 25 games.
In two starts since coming off the disabled list, Bundy has been charged with 11 runs (10 earned) and 14 hits in 7 1/3 innings. The Twins homered twice off the right-hander Friday night in Minnesota and Bird slammed a curveball off the right field foul pole to give him eight RBIs in the last two nights.
Bird saw 11 pitches from Bundy in the second inning before striking out. The slam came on the ninth pitch of that at-bat.
Mike Wright Jr. entered the game in the fifth inning after Bundy allowed five runs and five hits and walked four batters to leave his ERA at 4.35. It was 3.75 before he ran the bases in Atlanta.
Buck Showalter managed his 3,000th game tonight. Only 21 other managers have reached the milestone.
He didn’t have much to celebrate. Sonny Gray, owner of a 5.85 ERA and 1.571 WHIP in 17 starts before tonight, blanked the Orioles on three hits over six innings. In his two previous starts, Gray allowed 11 runs and 13 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Gray has been 50 shades of awful, but he’s faced the Orioles three times this season and allowed four runs in 18 innings.
They’re a baseball team and a tonic.
Bundy walked three batters before allowing his first hit, a one-out single by Aaron Judge in the third. Brett Gardner broke for the plate on Didi Gregorius’ comeback and was tagged out, but Giancarlo Stanton followed with an RBI single on a ground ball that deflected off Tim Beckham’s glove on a diving attempt.
Aaron Hicks walked to load the bases and Bird tied his career high in RBIs for the second consecutive night.
The Yankees put runners on second and third with no outs in the fourth, but Bundy got two shallow fly balls and a grounder to escape the jam while also raising his pitch count to 91.
The rotation is stuck on 41 quality starts, failing in seven straight attempts, and it just lost Andrew Cashner to a strained neck muscle. Starting options for the weekend include Yefry Ramírez, Jimmy Yacabonis and Chris Tillman.
Manny Machado made it through batting practice, the anthem and the game without a trade. He’s still an Oriole as they shower, dress and head home.
The Yankees have made an offer for Machado, but it doesn’t include prized left-hander Justus Sheffield, according to a source. MLB.com ranks Sheffield as the organization’s No. 2 prospect, while Baseball America puts him at No. 3.
The Orioles would love to put him in their rotation, but they’re not getting him for a Machado rental.
They are known to like outfielder Clint Frazier and third baseman Miguel Andújar, but at least one top pitching prospect is necessary in any deal.
The collection of scouts at Camden Yards tonight included representatives from the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Mariners and Mets. The Nationals and Astros routinely have someone here.
Jonathan Schoop isn’t a pending free agent and the Orioles seem inclined to keep him, but his value is going through the roof since his two-game benching. His hitting streak since returning grew to 10 games with a one-out double in the second inning, the 17th hit in 38 at-bats.
No one else reached base against Gray until Caleb Joseph led off the sixth with a single. Eleven in a row retired.
Machado doubled with two outs, drawing cheers from fans of both teams after we were told it wouldn’t get weird, but Gray struck out Mark Trumbo to strand two runners in scoring position.
Beckham moved to shortstop in the ninth after Machado lined out to strand two runners. Just one of the many substitutions with the Orioles down by eight runs. Nothing to see here.
Tyler Wade led off the top of the sixth against Wright by hitting his first career home run to increase the lead to 6-0. Jhan Maríñez replaced him and made his Orioles debut - the 44th player they’ve used this season - and Romine homered with two outs and the bases empty in the seventh.
Donnie Hart replaced Maríñez with two on and one out in the eighth and a run scored on his fielding error. Stanton had an RBI single off Hart in the ninth.
Showalter on Bundy: “Tonight his stuff was pretty good. They just had some good at-bats off him. I think Bird saw 20, 21 pitches off him. I know it’s going to be hard - some people wouldn’t look at it - but I actually thought he was pretty close to a pretty good outing. Actually, doesn’t give up the home run - obviously, that’s a big ‘if’ - but the finished product won’t look very good, but he’ll be fine.
“I don’t worry about Dylan. He’s close. We just didn’t score any runs again. I’d love to see our pitchers get some margin for error, especially early in the game.”
Showalter on Bundy not putting away hitters on two-strike counts: “In fairness to Dylan, they had some really good at-bats. They spit on some pitches. It’s one of the things you see up here. They foul off some pitches. I can’t tell you how many times in the course of a game you’ll see a pitch thrown and you go, ‘That’s strike three in the minor leagues.’ But guys have a way up here of fouling pitches off and making you make it again.
“It kind of happened with Bird. He kept fouling off some tough pitches and he got a ball that Dylan made a mistake on. But when you’re throwing that many pitches, they’re seeing everything you’ve got to offer. I think command of the fastball isn’t quite what he wants it to be. That kind of starts everything. We’ve seen Dylan have so many good outings, and most of it starts with that.”
Showalter on whether Bundy should have gone for the double play in third: “There’s a good chance there, a chance. That’s a good second-guess. But Gregorius kind of had a jail break out of the box. Not sure if we would have been able to turn it anyway. No, Dylan’s a baseball player, and if he decided to go home, I’m sure that’s the right play.”
Showalter on why Gray baffles Orioles: “I don’t know about baffle, but tonight I thought he was carrying a little extra fastball. He’s always had a good arm, but early in the year ... I thought he had a lot of late life, I thought the shape of his breaking ball was better. Watching some film of him coming in, you could tell there was kind of a different guy out there tonight.
“Even early on, I thought he had two shapes on his breaking ball. He was real comfortable throwing it short when he needed to and getting it for a strike.”
Showalter on whether team gets other starter’s best because opponents know O’s are struggling: “That’s probably a way to look at it. I’m sure that’s human nature, human emotion. Starting pitchers sit around for four days and they all know who they’re facing the next two or three times if they stay in turn and don’t get rainouts. They all know that.
“Some people look at it that way, and some people look at it another way. There’s a team on paper I should do real well against and it actually works against them. So, there’s two ways to look at that. I think Sonny Gray is too good a pitcher to stay where he was all year, and I think he made some adjustments. I thought he looked physically strong tonight.”
Bundy on whether it’s been tough coming back from DL: “Yeah, the results show that. But it doesn’t feel like it has been. I felt great today. Thought my stuff was really good. All four pitches, I thought, were quality.”