Dylan Bundy: "Probably the best stuff I've had all year"

WILMINGTON, Del. - Throwing a fastball that was overpowering at times in the 95-96 mph range, with a sharp curveball to go with it, Dylan Bundy dominated the Wilmington Blue Rocks for 2 2/3 innings tonight before the game was halted by rain at Frawley Stadium.

Bundy did not give up a run or hit and had one walk and three strikeouts. He threw 32 pitches, 21 for strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to seven of the 10 hitters he faced.

"I felt all right," Bundy said after the game was called. "I had a walk when I got two-seam happy. Other than that, that was probably the best stuff I've had all year. They told me I had 100 pitches to work with and no limit on innings, so I was excited to go six, seven, eight or nine innings.

"But I had that one walk. You can't be doing that in the big leagues in just 2 2/3 innings. Free bases will kill you. But tonight I had the consistency of all three pitches."

Bundy retired the first eight hitters before a two-out walk in the third. He was behind the next hitter 3-1 in the count when play was stopped at 7:50 p.m.

"You don't want to come out of the game because of rain or be cut off at eight innings just because you are at 100 pitches," Bundy said. "It's not about pitch count for me. The Orioles feel like it's pitch count, but for me it's all about if your elbow is dropping because you are tired. Then take you out, when you are tired, not when you are at 100 pitches."

Keys pitching coach Blaine Beatty has seen Bundy pitch 10 times now, but this may have been the best of the 10, even if it only was for 10 batters.

"I would have liked to see what the rest of the game had in store for him," Beatty said. "He was getting his curve over and was spotting his fastball pretty good. That was a pretty good 2 2/3 in terms of him having all his stuff.

"That was the best curveball I've seen in a game early as well the ability to work both sides of the plate. I would have to say it was his best."

This was the first time Bundy, who is 4-3 with an ERA of 2.98, was going to be allowed to go beyond five innings as a pro and he was looking forward to that.

"Yeah, I'm a competitive pitcher and I always want to go seven, eight, or complete games," he said. "But that's part of their program for me with an innings limit."

Orioles director of pitching development Rick Peterson told MASNsports.com tonight that he wants Bundy to make "a handful" of starts going beyond five innings with Frederick and then the Orioles will likely move him to Double-A Bowie for his final few starts of this season.

What does Bundy feel about a possible promotion?

"They usually leave me in the dark on stuff like that, which is fine with me, because that leaves me to do the on-the-field stuff and not worry about it," he said.

"It's their decision. I feel I'm ready, now that I've got my curveball where it's supposed to be. I had one walk in 2 2/3, which isn't very good for me. But yeah, I'm definitely ready for that.

"I had some trouble with it (the curve) all year. I had it for about four or five starts in Delmarva and started kind of losing it when I got to Frederick."

It doesn't seem likely that the Orioles would call Bundy to Baltimore in September, but a reporter asked him about that after tonight's game.

"Definitely (I would be up for that)," he said. "That is my competitive side speaking. I feel like I could go up there and as long as I keep the fastball low in the zone and locate in and out and if I had my curveball, which I feel like I do now, I think I could handle myself up there.

"I feel good. My stuff was lively today and my body feels great. Sometimes during the week you may not be 100 percent during a bullpen, but that's why this is a grind."

After watching Bundy throw 32 mostly outstanding pitches tonight you got the feeling that the rain saved the Blue Rocks from a long and tough night against the 19-year-old right-hander.

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