KANSAS CITY - By almost any standard, right-hander Dylan Bundy is having a fantastic season for the Orioles. He is 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA and has recorded eight straight quality starts. He ranks eighth in the American League in ERA and 10th in WHIP at 1.03.
But he ranks high up among the league leaders in another category that could present a concern for the Orioles at some point. Bundy has pitched 51 2/3 innings to tie for fifth in the AL.
Bundy is due to make one more start before the Orioles reach the 25 percent mark in games played for 2017. Let’s say Bundy goes six innings in that next start. That would put him at 57 2/3 innings with about three-quarters of a season to go. That is a pace for 230 innings. David Price led the AL last year in innings pitched with 230.
One season after Bundy returned from several years marred by injuries and Tommy John surgery, are the O’s prepared for him to pitch that much? He threw 109 2/3 innings last year. So that many innings would not be a small, incremental jump; it would be more than double.
At least for right now, manager Buck Showalter is not publicly expressing any concern about these stats or presenting any plan for Bundy to either skip some starts or have some outings on extra rest. If that is in the plans, the skipper is not ready to reveal as much yet.
“Dylan is one of those guys strong enough that he doesn’t let some pitch count dictate how he’s feeling,” Showalter said before Saturday’s game. “This stuff about innings and pitch counts, there is nothing to back it up. I’ve talked to Dr. (James) Andrews, I’ve talked to all of them. It is some way that someone is trying to carve out (concern) about increment jumps.
“We’re careful. There is nobody more careful. I’m very proud about the health of our pitchers. It’s by design. It’s walk around and talk to them. Knowing their backgrounds. But to try to evaluate someone’s health on how many pitches or innings he’s thrown from one year to the next is a big excuse. It’s more about knowing the evidence and the person. Believe me, I’m concerned about it. I’ll put our track record of that part of it. ... We’re watching everything Dylan does.”
He’s been the Orioles’ best pitcher. But as the season moves on, tracking how the club uses him and/or limits him in any way will be interesting to watch.
Out to end a skid: Meanwhile, the club is looking to snap the season’s first three-game losing streak today. Kansas City beat the Orioles 4-3 last night as Chris Tillman pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up eight hits and three runs.
Tillman threw a whopping 105 pitches in that game to get just 13 outs. He is the first Oriole to throw at least that many pitches and go 4 1/3 innings or less since Daniel Cabrera on July 13, 2008 at Boston.
Tillman was asked about his pitch count escalating so fast. Were the Royals just good at making him work? Did he lack a putaway pitch?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve kind of had that problem my whole career. It’s not necessarily my stuff that’s going to get those outs. It’s making pitches. When you’re getting into a deep count like that, all you can do is keep throwing strikes and try to get the guy to put the ball in play. There’s not a whole lot else you can do. I didn’t want to walk him, so I trying to pound the zone and make good pitches.”
The Orioles offense produced three solo homers last night - two by Francisco Peña - but the club has scored just five runs on 15 hits over the last two nights at Kauffman Stadium, where the Orioles are 2-9 since May 17, 2014.
The Orioles have lost a series for just the second time this year. They are now 8-2-2 in 12 series. Their other series loss was two of three against New York at Yankee Stadium from April 28-30.
Jonathan Schoop went 0-for-4 last night. That ends his streak of reaching base safely in 26 consecutive games. According to STATS, LLC., it was the longest active streak in the majors and a career high for Schoop.
The Orioles hit three homers last night. It is the 13th time they’ve hit two or more this year. They are 10-3 in those games. It was the first time Kansas City has allowed three home runs at home since May 3, 2016 against Washington.
He did it again: SIngle-A Frederick Keys pitcher Christian Turnipseed has put together another great video. Click here to check it out. This time he and his teammates put together a great tribute for Mother’s Day. The Keys love their moms!