The pitcher who used to light up radar guns wouldn’t mind if they were set ablaze and never replaced.
Put them on a raft in the bay and give it a shove.
Dylan Bundy insisted again yesterday morning that his dip in velocity during Saturday’s start wasn’t due to an injury. Might have been based on mechanics or the weather. He’s trying to figure it out. But he knows how his arm feels.
“My arm feels great,” he said.
So he’s got that going for him. Which is really important.
Bundy’s injury history hangs on him like a cheap suit - even six years removed from Tommy John surgery and having made 28 and 31 starts the past two summers. He’s no longer the kid firing upper-90s fastballs in high school, reaching triple digits on multiple occasions and having one scouting director tell Baseball America that Bundy had a better overall package than the college arms available in the 2011 draft.
He’s more likely to work in the 90-93 mph range, and he’s fine with it.
“It doesn’t matter if you throw 72 mph,” he said. “You’ve seen position players get guys out by lobbing the ball in there, so I don’t really care how hard I throw. I wish they’d take the radar guns out of the stadium, really. “
Bundy’s four-seamer averaged a career-low 89.8 mph per Statcast and 90.57 per brooksbaseball.net. Statcast had his previous low at 89.9, which caused Bundy to grin and shake his head at the miniscule difference.
He’s always going to draw comparisons to the younger flame-throwing Dylan Bundy. He can’t escape himself.
“I hope not,” Bundy said. “I mean, that was eight, nine years ago, so things have changed. I’m evolving as a pitcher and I am where I am right now.
“It’s not like I’m purposely trying to throw 89 mph or 90, whatever it is. But I feel fine physically, and that’s the most important thing.”
Bundy had dipped to 87 mph in the fifth inning, which led to visits from pitching coach Doug Brocail and catcher Austin Wynns. He also walked two batters sandwiched around a double play. and his inability to command the ball prompted manager Brandon Hyde to remove him at 80 pitches.
The last two pitches thrown to Mike Trout were clocked at 91.8 mph, a point that Bundy emphasized yesterday, and a ground ball ended the inning and Bundy’s afternoon.
Coming off a start in which Bundy tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings on 96 pitches, he twice allowed home runs to Albert Pujols on 89.4 mph fastballs down the middle. His four-seamer averaged 91.7 mph against the Rays and 92.55 in his prior outing.
It isn’t about 100 mph anymore. These concerns crop up when he’s sitting at 88-89 and there’s another decrease in the fifth with too many missed targets.
“You’re just going to have days when the ball just doesn’t come out the way it does the previous start,” Bundy said. “Say, if 94 is your best heater, maybe 92-93 is your best heater the next time. It’s not going to be the exact same every single outing, even though I wish it was.”
So there were no concerns that something might be wrong?
“No, not one bit,” he replied. “Got to the fifth inning. Other than the two home run balls, I think I pitched pretty decent. Just one of those days I had to battle, not having my best stuff. You’re going to have a few starts like that every year. You’ve just got to battle through them.”
And answer more questions about the status of his arm. They’re going to come at him again before and after Thursday night’s start in Cleveland.
“Perfect,” he said. “Perfectly fine.”