NEW YORK - The rotation spins back to Dylan Bundy tonight and it couldn’t happen at a better time.
Kevin Gausman gave the Orioles five innings plus one batter in Friday night’s 7-3, 14-inning win at Yankee Stadium. Chris Tillman went 5 1/3 innings the following day in a bullpen-depleted 8-3 loss. And Mike Wright Jr. closed the series yesterday by retiring only two batters in an 8-7, 12-inning win.
The Orioles could use more length after manager Buck Showalter needed six relievers to cover for Wright, leading to another organizational meeting over potential call-ups. Bundy is breaking out his ace material early, with one earned run allowed in 13 innings, with three walks and 15 strikeouts.
Still no decisions for Bundy and still no reason to obsess over the won-loss record. The focus needs to shift to his 0.69 ERA, 1.000 WHIP and .213 opponents’ average. And still no home runs surrendered.
If you’re into small sample size splits, left-handers are batting .304 (7-for-23) against Bundy in his two starts. Right-handers are hitting .125 (3-for-24).
Bundy is 3-0 with a 0.76 ERA and 0.887 WHIP in seven career games (three starts) against the Blue Jays, with two runs, 16 hits, five walks and 26 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings.
Kendrys Morales is 1-for-10 and Kevin Pillar is 2-for-10.
Left-hander J.A. Happ is making his third start tonight for the Blue Jays after allowing seven runs (six earned) and 11 hits in 10 innings with two walks and 14 strikeouts.
Happ hasn’t seen many left-handers - they’re 1-for-7 - and we’ll find out later whether Chris Davis returns to the lineup after sitting out yesterday due to an illness. The Yankees had left-hander Jordan Montgomery on the mound and Showalter said it was only coincidence and Davis wouldn’t have started against anyone.
Davis is 4-for-20 with two doubles and two home runs against Happ. Pedro Álvarez, usually on the bench versus lefties, is 6-for-12 with two doubles and one home run.
Happ is making his 15th career start and 16th appearance against the Orioles. He’s 4-6 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.244 WHIP overall and 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.200 WHIP in six starts at Camden Yards.
The Orioles stumbled into New York after losing their last two games against the Twins and being swept by the Astros in three. But proving again that seasons don’t end in April despite Twitter’s insistence to the contrary, they won three of four over the mighty Yankees and are 4-6 as they finally return home for another brief stay.
“This team is similar to the ‘14 team,” said catcher Caleb Joseph, whose decision to throw to third base on the 12th-inning double play will rate as one of the smartest and gutsiest of the season.
“We talked about it earlier. There’s a never-die mentality. It’s almost as if we get better as the game goes on, kind of like a diesel engine. Once you get it revved up, it’ll go forever.
“It was a lot of resilience this series. Could have easily kind of laid down. They had some momentum a couple of times in those extra innings. We had some pitchers really step up, give us a chance. We got some clutch hits. Really gratifying, but there’s another team waiting at home for us so we have to enjoy it short, then get ready for the next series.”
Just as seasons don’t end in the first few months - this one started in late March - it’s also important to remember that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher. It doesn’t carry over simply because of another extra-inning win
“It depends on how we pitch (tonight), it depends on how we catch the ball,” Showalter said.
“Those things, people want to say, are catapults, but the season is so long and there’s so many ups and downs and so many emotional tugs that you try to stay pretty even keeled. But I want our guys to feel good about it. It’d be nice to have an off-day, but I don’t think Toronto cares at all about what happened here today. I know they’re probably pretty happy it went extra innings. I’m sure the Red Sox are pretty happy with us, too.”