It was Bundy Sunday in Chicago for the Orioles, as the youngster faced off against James Shields in the rubber game of the three-game set. Everything you need to know about the weekend matinee below.
The Orioles wasted no time putting runs up on the board against Shields, who struggled with command early. In the top of the first after Hyun-Soo Kim poked a singled into left, Manny Machado took the right-hander deep with a colossal smash to center on a first-pitch fastball.
His 23rd of the season put the O’s up 2-0 in a inning where Shields simply didn’t have his best stuff. Ultimately, the biggest storyline of the top of the first might’ve been Shields’ inability to establish any pitch in his arsenal.
The Birds worked him for 35 pitches in the frame with plenty of lengthy at-bats.
With an early lead, Dylan Bundy took the hill and worked flawlessly. He made Melky Cabrera look silly on a pair of changeups, while Adam Eaton couldn’t figure out the curveball on 0-1 and 0-2 counts.
Bundy struck out the side with just 12 pitches (nine strikes) in the first — not a bad way to keep momentum, eh?
With one out in the following half-inning, nine-hole hitter J.J. Hardy crushed a baseball over 420 feet to left-center. Shields left a belt-high fastball over the plate, and the O’s’ wily veteran didn’t miss it.
The worst part for the White Sox? Their starter didn’t ever find his groove.
Shields hit Jones and walked Kim in consecutive at-bats, setting up Machado to do his thing... again. #13 lined an unbelievably fast liner into the seats in left field on another first-pitch offering, putting the Orioles up 6-0 with just one out in the second. But, there’s more.
In the very next at-bat, Chris Davis smoked what looked to be one of the hardest-hit balls of his season on a hanging curveball. The beautiful swing delivered the fourth home run of the game, tagging Shields for his seventh earned run of the ballgame.
Oh, and it wasn’t over.
Steve Pearce rocketed a liner to left that ended up bouncing into the seats, the sixth hit of the game and ultimately the final straw for Robin Ventura.
Pearce’s shot sent Shields for a very early shower and gave Matt Albers a chance to shut down the brutal offensive onslaught. However, the Orioles weren’t exactly done.
Pedro Alvarez greeted Albers with a first-pitch RBI single to center, plating the Orioles’ eighth run of the game. That wrapped up Shields’ line: 1.1 IP, 6 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 4 HR.
Albers eventually managed two hard-hit outs to exit the inning, but the damage was done. The Birds were up 8-0 heading into the bottom of the second, essentially letting Dylan Bundy know, "you don’t need a no-hitter this week, here’s a free win."
And while the eight-run gift was a rather nice one, Bundy didn’t exactly need much help on this afternoon. As he continued to shut down Chicago, Machado did the unthinkable in the third.
Against Albers this time in his third plate appearance, Machado threw his bat-head at a pitch down in the zone and didn’t miss. That’s right — three innings, three at-bats, three HRs.
Just a normal seven-RBI day for Mr. Machado.
After the third, the score was 10-0 Birds.
Sticking with his consistency, Bundy continued to look like a legitimate superstar on the hill.
He worked strikeouts with beautiful soft offerings that boosted his the deceptiveness of his mid-upper 90s fastball. And unlike the Shields/Albers duo, he was effective.
Utilizing the heater that touched 97 with a filthy upper-70s curveball, Bundy dominated his White Sox opponents like a freight train. His quick pace helped him roll through the first three innings before he met his first jam in the bottom of the fourth.
With runners on the corners, Bundy did what every ace must learn to do: minimize damage.
Before allowing the situation to spiral out of control, he hunkered down and fought with impressive resiliency. Just one run ended up scoring on a Todd Frazier sacrifice fly as Bundy stranded the runner on first, capping off the inning with a beautiful strikeout on a curve to Tyler Saladino.
The offense settled down over the course of the next few innings, but Bundy’s dominance didn’t slow down. As he’s shown in his 2016 starts, this guy is ready for the main stage.
He finished the day with six full innings of work, heavily relying upon a change of speeds to capture his win.
Most notably, the mix of offerings was beneficial to his K/BB ratio — he fanned nine batters while walking just one. It’s safe to say Buck Showalter would take that performance any day of the week.
In a slight notch of irony, Ubaldo Jimenez, who has been famously bumped from the rotation, entered to take the mound in the 7th. And he ended up doing what he hadn’t been able to do in the first half of the season: get outs.
He worked a three-up, three-down inning that included a strikeout on a pretty breaking ball, sending the ballgame to the eighth with a 10-2 lead. And while the Chicago bullpen kept the Birds off the board, Showalter sent Jimenez out for some more work in the eighth.
He retired three more with ease, earning the ninth inning job as well.
After impressively working three more quick ones, Jimenez ended up throwing three perfect innings with three strikeouts on just 26 pitches ... maybe it was the Orioles’ perfect day.
The bullpen was kept fresh, the lineup padded some stats and the Orioles ended up in the win column.
It’s safe to say that it was a fairly perfect Sunday afternoon for the Birds of Baltimore.
Other things to note
- Steve Pearce left the game with some type of arm injury after a throw from the outfield; he was replaced by Nolan Reimold in the fifth inning.
- Hyun-Soo Kim reached base three times in the game — he walked twice in addition to his single.
- The lineup as a whole worked nine walks to pair with their 12 hits.