The Orioles were victorious again Tuesday night over the Royals when Dylan Bundy laid waste to the Royals lineup to the tune of 8.0IP, 3H, 1R (0ER), 1BB, 5K. The offense showed up in a big way, too, scoring seven runs off of Ian Kennedy & Co.
In the first frame, Bundy came out looking… well, rested. He was throwing on eight games of rest, and if fatigue has been his issue, extra rest can surely be the remedy. Dylan set the tone in the first, retiring the first three batters he faced on nine pitches, including a strikeout and some weak contact. One of the outs in the first came on a swinging bunt from Lorenzo Cain.
Newly acquired Orioles shortstop/ utility infielder, Tim Beckham, started charging towards the slow tapper, and Manny introduced Beckham to exactly what it means to play beside him on the diamond. Manny charged in front of Beckham, barehanded the ball somewhere near the pitcher’s mound, and fired across the diamond in a beautiful, “only Manny” sort of play.
On the other side of the ball, Machado hit a one out double the opposite way in the Orioles half of the first inning. Adorable bestie, Jonathan Schoop, followed him with an RBI single—also the other way. By the way, Schoop now trails for the league lead in RBI by one (78 to Nelson Cruz’s 79). Kid got really good while nobody was looking.
Chris Davis knocked his own single, Schoop managing to go first-to-third, and Trey “not Aaron Judge” Mancini came to the plate, leading the AL with a .413 average with runners in scoring position. That number went up almost immediately as Trey whistled a 111 mph exit-velocity double to the left-center gap. Schoop would score and Davis would lumber over to third on the play.
Tim Beckham hit the ball to short, and Chris Davis was going on contact with the infield drawn in for some reason. The throw went to the plate, and Chris was out by at least a full body length—a Chris-Davis-sized body length. That was enough to kill the rally, but not before the O’s had nabbed an early 2-0 advantage.
Tim Beckham highlighted an awkward top of the second inning for the Orioles. Dylan Bundy cut-off a ball that Schoop probably would have gotten to, Beckham pulled Schoop off the bag to butcher a possible GiDP, and Beckham also failed to turn two the very next play by not throwing the ball back to first on what ended up being a 3-6 fielder’s choice.
Luckily, no Royal actually got past first base, and the half-inning only saw four come to the plate. It didn’t feel that way, but okay, sure.
Anyhow, Ian Kennedy bounced back in the second inning, only surrendering a two-out single to the birthday boy, Adam Jones, who worked a beautiful at bat on his way to the hit which also happened to snap an 0-for-14 streak.
The top of the third would see Alex Gordon single up the middle and then steal second base. This was particularly frustrating to watch because the O’s had Gordon out by a proverbial mile at second, but Schoop misplayed a short hop, and the ball went into center field.
Gordon advanced to third base on the misplay, and Whit Merrifield singled him in. There would be no more damage by the Royals in the inning, or any other inning until the ninth, though.
As the game progressed, Dylan Bundy stayed consistent, pitching on the level we were all treated to in April and early May. This was great to see from Bundy, who you might remember for most recently giving up 19 ER in 20.1 IP over four starts in July. Dylan retired the last 13 batters he faced, on his way to 1-2-3 fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. Rest this man more!
Kennedy, meanwhile, continued pitching just South of “fine,” and gave up another run in the fourth when a Seth Smith HBP + two groundouts to move him over + a birthday RBI single from Adam Jones turned into a 3-1 lead.
The birthday adrenaline led AJ to commit a TOOTBLAN on the very next play, though, when Manny Machado was credited with a single, and Adam tried to go all the way to third. The problem here was the ball was hit to Royals shortstop, Alcides Escobar, and with the play right in front of him, he gunned Jones down by a significant margin.
Kennedy only just made it into the fifth inning, throwing 92 pitches over 4+IP before being lifted in favor of Scott Alexander. Alexander looked straight-up nasty for his first couple of batters faced, but then the Orioles suddenly exploded for three runs with him on the mound.
Schoop had led off with a single to chase Kennedy, and with two outs, Tim Beckham managed an infield hit (first one as an Oriole!) to keep the inning alive. With men now on first and second, Seth Smith got revenge for his earlier HBP by launching a ball deep to left center field. Both Schoop and Beckham scored, with Dad scooting into second.
Wellington Castillo laced a pitch just far enough out of reach of Royals centerfielder, Lorenzo Cain, and Seth “Dad” Smith came home on the play. Rickard joined the party with a double, but Birthday Jones couldn’t follow suit, grounding out to end the inning. All said, the lead was increased to a comfortable 6-1.
The O’s would add an insurance run in the seventh off Neftali Feliz, when Tim Beckham led off the inning with a double, and Dad singled him home.
The real story at the end of the game, though, wasn’t the insurance runs by the Orioles. Dylan Bundy had thrown eight complete innings, retiring his last 13 batters faced. He had thrown “only” 93 pitches. However, much to the chagrin of many fans, Brad Brach came on to start the ninth inning.
Did Bundy deserve a shot at pitching a complete game? Maybe. What constitutes whether someone deserves a shot at something that doesn’t ultimately matter statistically? Why trot Bundy back out after throwing 93 pitches when the main concern surrounding him is fatigue?
Regardless of your opinion on the matter, Buck Showalter made the decision he made, and Brach actually surrendered a run on a pair of doubles to Melky Cabrera and Salvador Perez. Adam Jones made a great play ranging back on Perez’s double, but he just forgot to actually catch it.
No matter, though, because the Orioles won tonight. The Orioles won in triumphant fashion, and the pendulum has swung back towards optimism for this probably-lost season.
Jeremy Hellickson makes his Baltimore debut tomorrow night at 7:05pm EST against the surprisingly effective (in 2017) Jason Vargas as the O’s go for a three-game sweep of the Royals. Stay tuned, fans!
Who was the Most Birdland Player for August 1, 2017?
This poll is closed
Dylan Bundy: 8 completely dominant innings, no earned runs, 13 retired in a row
Adam Jones: 2-5 on his birthday with an RBI, received the heart and hustle award pre-game
Seth Smith: 2-3, 3 RBI, revenge after getting HBP, is an awesome Dad