FREDERICK, Md. - When Dylan Bundy pitches for the Single-A Frederick Keys tonight in his Carolina Leaue debut, it is clear we should expect him to throw a higher percentage of non-fastballs than he did in his most recent start at Hagerstown on Sunday.
The Orioles want Bundy to work specifically on his changeup but also on his curveball. For the first time, in that last start, they felt he got away from that plan a little bit.
Frederick manager Orlando Gomez said he will certainly be monitoring that tonight here at Harry Grove Stadium.
"We are going to check with our catcher during the game, and if we need to address something right away, we will do it," Gomez said. "Dylan knows about it, and he's all right with it. He has a plan and knows what he wants to do. He's prepared for that."
Gomez said catcher Joe Oliveira will be calling the pitches as he would in any game, but that if he needed to start calling pitches from the dugout, he would do it.
Gomez is just getting to know Bundy. He only had him on his team in spring training very briefly, and Bundy just arrived here in Frederick yesterday. But he has already made a nice impression on his new skipper.
"He is handling this very well," Gomez said. "How he gets along with the rest of the players. He's been fitting in like just another guy on our ballclub. I saw him outside taking his time to sign autographs and visit with fans and that was nice to see.
"I don't know if he is going to get nervous. He might even be getting more attention here for this start than he did at Delmarva."
As of this afternoon, just general admission tickets remain for tonight's game, and a crowd of over 10,000 is expected. The Keys single-game attendance record of 11,006 set on August 30, 1997 could be threatened tonight.
Fans can print out tickets at the Keys' website and if you are coming out tonight, you are encouraged to arrive early. The Keys are no longer taking any phone orders for tonight's game.
Frederick enters tonight at 16-27 and in last place. Their opponent, the Salem Red Sox, is 26-18 and in first place. Gomez said the Salem lineup should provide a test for Bundy tonight.
"He's facing a pretty good team. They can hit, they can run and they are aggressive. There are a lot of fastball hitters on that team. It's one of the best hitting teams in our league," he said.
Salem has a .280 team batting average, which is first in the league. The Red Sox are second in runs scored at 4.95 runs per game and first in OBP at .356. Their lineup features the top two hitters in the Carolina League in Jackie Bradley Jr. (.364) and Travis Shaw (.345).
Bundy will face Ryan Kalish tonight, who played in 53 major league games for the Boston Red Sox in 2010. He is with Salem on a rehab assignment and will bat third in the Red Sox lineup.
Bundy will make his third start of five innings tonight. He is expected to make about 10 starts of five innings before going deeper into games later in the year. He will have a pitch limit of around 80-85 tonight.
I asked Gomez if he had been told how long Bundy might stay with his team?
"It's a start-by-start thing," he said.
You can certainly sense the buzz around the ballpark here today for tonight's game. Check MASNsports.com later, and I'll have a live blog going during Bundy's outing to update you on everything going on here in Frederick.