The curiosity over Dylan Bundy’s fastball velocity climbed another notch today as his readings declined at critical junctures.
Bundy’s heater kept slipping below 90 mph as the temperature fell at Camden Yards and the latest storm moved into the area. He was burned twice by Albert Pujols because of it.
Pujols targeted the seats in left field, providing leads for the Angels in the first and fourth innings, and the Orioles lost again 7-2 before an announced crowd of 21,106.
The Orioles are 13-26 overall and 5-15 at home. They’ve lost four in a row and 10 of 13.
Gabriel Ynoa allowed one run in 11 1/3 innings before today, but he loaded the bases with one out in the sixth and the Angels expanded a 3-2 lead to 6-2. Kole Calhoun had an RBI single and two more runs scored on fielder’s choice grounders, the shift preventing a double play and the runner rule safe at second after Jonathan Villar missed the bag.
Branden Kline struck out Mike Trout with the bases loaded and retired the side in order in the seventh. Jimmy Yacabonis celebrated his return to the majors by striking out two in the eighth and Mike Trout in the ninth, but Shohei Ohtani delivered a run-scoring single to end the scoring.
Dwight Smith Jr. tied the game in the bottom of the first with a two-run homer off Matt Harvey, the ball landing on the flag court in right field after Villar’s leadoff double. Smith is tied with Trey Mancini for the team lead with seven.
Smith had two home runs last season in 35 games with the Blue Jays, who traded him in March for international signing bonus slot funds. He’s hit seven with the Orioles in 36 games.
Pujols hit his 640th career home run in the top of the first, a two-run shot that he admired as it traveled 432 feet per Statcast. Bundy and David Hess were tied for the team lead in home runs allowed with 10.
Bundy threw an 89.4 mph fastball over the plate and Pujols didn’t miss it.
The same pitch in the fourth brought the same result, giving Pujols his 59th career multi-homer game - the most among active players - and Bundy sole possession of the team lead.
Pujols needs 19 more home runs to tie Willie Mays for fifth place on baseball’s all-time list.
Barry Bonds 762
Hank Aaron 755
Babe Ruth 714
Alex Rodriguez 696
Willie Mays 660
Albert Pujols 641
Bundy allowed three runs and four hits in five innings, with two walks, two strikeouts and two wild pitches. Manager Brandon Hyde replaced him with Ynoa after 80 pitches.
Pujols wasn’t missing the fastball and it was nearly impossible to miss Harvey, who stayed on the mound for 53 pitches through two innings. Multiple trips to the rest room and he’d still be peering in for the sign.
Villar grounded out on the ninth pitch of the at-bat to end the second and strand two runners in scoring position.
The Angels bullpen got busy in the third after back-to-back singles by Mancini and Smith with no outs. Harvey struck out the next two batters, walked Chris Davis to load the bases and retired Joey Rickard on a fly ball.
Davis lined into the shift in his first at-bat to keep his average below .200. He had a chance to reach the mark in the fifth against reliever Luke Bard with runners on the corners and two outs, but he flied to left.
Bard entered the game after Harvey’s pitch count reached 93 through the fourth.
Richie Martin doubled with two outs in the sixth and Villar struck out. The Orioles were 1-for-9 with RISP and stranded eight.
It also started to rain.
Because it’s a weekend in Baltimore.
Davis batted against Cam Bedrosian with runners on first and second and two outs in the seventh and struck out on the 10th pitch to make the Orioles 1-for-10.
Note: Left-hander Richard Bleier started at Double-A Bowie, working back-to-back nights, and tossed a scoreless inning with one hit and one strikeout. Bleier was moved to the first inning due to the weather forecast, assuring that he’d get in his inning.
Hyde on why took out Bundy at 80 pitches: “In the fifth, we saw the velo drop and a bunch of 87s on the board and a lack of command. That’s why we took him out there. Bring in Ynoa, who’s been stretched out and throwing the ball really well, and just wasn’t his day.”
Hyde on Bundy’s low velo: “That’s why we went Broc (pitching coach Doug Brocail) out there in the fifth. Wynns went out there and then Broc goes out there because the velo was down and just making sure he’s OK. He said he was OK, but it just didn’t look right for us and so that’s why we took him out after five.”
Hyde on whether anything came up later regarding health: “No, no.”
Hyde on most of Bundy home runs coming off fastball: “I just see fastballs that are thigh-high. I think once he got through that first and started really pitching, I thought he pitched well the second through the fourth inning. I thought he used his off-speed stuff really well. His fastball played up because of it.
“But in the first there for me, he was just trying to establish his fastball and they were being ultra-aggressive and trying to ambush him. Pujols did, (Tommy) La Stella did early. So I just think that from the second on, into the fifth, I thought he pitched well by utilizing his four pitches. In the fifth, it just looked like he fatigued a little bit or whatever it was, but the velo went down and his command went down.”
Hyde on monitoring him with 20 straight games: “We monitor all of our guys, so yeah, I think we’ll talk a lot. I haven’t talked to him since the game has been over, but I talked to (Brian) Ebel and everything checks out fine. But, yeah, we monitor all of our guys on a regular basis. We do have quite a few in a row here and we’ll play it by ear.”
Hyde on offense: “It was a really good game until the sixth there, I thought. Both teams were playing well and it was a 3-2 game. We had Harvey kind of on the ropes. They had somebody up in the third or fourth. Got his pitch count up. They had their bullpen ready and they have some good arms and they rely heavily on those guys.
“Their starters don’t go very deep, so those guys have been pitching well for them. We just didn’t get to their ‘pen. They got to our ‘pen and we didn’t get to their ‘pen. I’m just looking for guys to step up out of the ‘pen and be able to pitch in the sixth through eighth innings with the score close. It’s pretty open for who wants to step up and be a guy.”
Hyde on Pujols: “Yeah, I’ve seen him before. One of the best right-handed hitters of all time, right? Make mistakes to him, and he’s been swinging the bat well, too, coming into the series. He is who he is because of what he did today.”
Hyde on connection between Bundy’s longest outing and today: “I don’t know. I mean, I don’t want to dive too far into it because I don’t have all the details and I haven’t really talked to anybody since the game has been over. He threw the ball really well for seven-plus innings his last start and I thought he threw well from the second inning to the fifth today. But I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. I hope not. It just looked like he wasn’t sharp in the fifth inning and his velo was down, but he gave us a chance, pitched five innings, a 3-2 game and we just couldn’t stay right there.”
Bundy on health: “Physically I’m fine. I feel like I kind of had to battle the whole game with off-speed pitches, kind of pitching behind in the count.”
Bundy on velocity down: “Was it? I didn’t look at the velo. But, yeah, I noticed I was getting underneath the ball a little bit and leaving a lot of fastballs up way out of the zone. That’s kind of the first thing you notice.”
Bundy on whether alarming to get mound visit cause of velo: “No, not at all. I wasn’t worried about it. I didn’t look up there and see a problem. So I might look at a few mechanical things. But overall my arm feels great, so I’ll just keep chucking it.”
Bundy on leaving after 80 pitches: “Yeah, I was surprised when they told me, but when they say they’re taking the ball, they take the ball. I tried to keep the team in the game as long as I could. And unfortunately I didn’t get to go out there for another one.”
Bundy on Pujols: “Yeah, he got me twice today. You can’t make a mistake to him and I missed my spot on both pitches. Just a little bit on the first one. But the second one I just lost command there and missed my spot by about a foot and a half.”