One of the important questions for the Orioles heading into the season was how long they would be able to use Dylan Bundy without restrictions. This has become even more significant as the season has played out with Bundy being the best of the Orioles rotation. Manager Buck Showalter said before Tuesday’s game that the Orioles would start to “back off of” Bundy following his next start.
The why of this has always been apparent. Bundy’s previous high for innings in his professional career was the 109.2 innings he pitched last season. For the most part, pitchers just don’t go from that to throwing 180 innings or more. That’s not what happens.
Although in spring training, Showalter insisted that the time had come to “take the governors off” of Bundy, sooner or later, something was going to have to give.
Showalter first commented on doing something different with Bundy in a short video segment with MASN’s All-Access social media-based series:
This sounds a bit more worrisome than the actual plan turns out to be. In his standard pre-game remarks with the Orioles reporters, Showalter went on to elaborate what will be done with Bundy.
The plan, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, is that Bundy will make his next start and then be pushed to the back of the rotation following a Monday off-day. That will give him an extra three days of rest.
Bundy will remain at the back end of the rotation after the All-Star break in order to give him an extra few days of rest in the middle of July. Hopefully that is all of the extra rest that Bundy needs. Perhaps it’s exactly what he needs. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that after an 11 start streak where Bundy never pitched fewer than six innings, he’s since run into some difficulties.
I have a feeling this won’t be the last time there is some juggling to give Bundy extra rest. There won’t be as many opportunities to do so with off days in the second half of the season. Coming out of the All-Star break, the Orioles have just one off day from July 14 through August 16. Another stretch sees them with just one off day between August 25 and September 24.
Bundy has already pitched 92 innings this season, and he’ll probably pass last season’s total either right before the break or shortly after. So he’ll be spending all of August and September adding to a career-high innings total. We’re going to find out how that works out for Bundy and the Orioles.