In the top of the first inning at Oriole Park, Dylan Bundy wound up and delivered a 91 mph fastball into the strike zone. Bryce Harper of the visiting Washington Nationals proceeded to launch a solo home run into the right field stands. It was the 15th home run allowed by Bundy this season already, in only his 12th game. He is already 2 homers away from his 2016 season total of 18, after giving up another long ball to former Oriole Mark Reynolds in the 4th inning.
So what happened to the 25-year-old pitcher? After never giving up more than two runs in any of his first five starts, he worked up from a 2.97 ERA in April to 4.45 ERA in May. It could be the Orioles are trying to get too much out of him, seeing as once again the only pitchers to show any glimmer of competence in the nigh summer days are Bundy and Kevin Gausman. It could also be that he doesn’t see much reason in trying to pitch his best, seeing that the snake bitten lineup offers no run support. Bundy doesn’t seem like the type to let something like that get to him, but think about it, it could make all the difference in someone’s attitude.
Bundy was on pace to become the bulldog ace the Orioles have needed since Mike Mussina walked out the door in 2001. Bundy has repaired his image slightly with a complete game just 5 days ago, but it looks like the Orioles rotation hasn’t improved much from last year’s, you remember, the one with Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley *Shudders*. Sure the offense is bad, but Bundy and company need to step up and do what we know their capable of, or risk a second consecutive losing season. The Birds are on pace to lose 111 games and with folks expecting them to tank and start a rebuild, the trade deadline can’t come fast enough.
Vasilios Nikolaou is a Baltimore native and grew up during the Dark Ages of Orioles baseball. He currently is a writer/reporter for the Russell Street Report and is a Sports Intern at WBAL-TV11.