I’m not going to lie, this is getting harder. Harder to watch, harder to write about and harder to live with. The Orioles are absolutely dreadful.
Last week, I shared a list of reasons the Orioles were still worth watching in 2018. Selfishly, I wanted to talk myself off the proverbial ledge after the Orioles brutal start. But I also believed in what I was writing. There is still some talent worth enjoying on this team. My first example? Dylan Bundy.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
At the time of the article, Bundy was coming off of his worst start of the season. He allowed seven earned runs in under five innings against Tampa Bay on April 26. I insisted that was just an outlier in a strong season for Bundy. That take has not aged well.
Bundy did not record an out last night. But he did allow four home runs in the top of the first. Not great. His final stat line? 5 hits, 7 runs, 2 walks in 0.0 innings pitched. Its the type of outing that perfectly epitomizes the Orioles season.
According to Andrew Simon of MLB.com, Bundy is the first pitcher to allow four home runs in a game without recording an out in the modern era. Maybe that’s a reason to watch the 2018 Orioles.
I understand that players have off nights, even historically bad nights, but this makes three consecutive rough starts for the Orioles ace. Bundy followed his outing against Tampa Bay by allowing seven runs at Anaheim on May 2. I’ll let Tuesday night’s outing speak for itself.
Bundy has now allowed nine home runs in his last three appearances. Clearly, that’s not a strong recipe for success. But the number is staggering when you consider that he allowed only one long ball in his first five starts.
Like many things in baseball, the real Bundy likely lies somewhere in the middle. The righty has always surrendered a decent amount of fly balls. In 2017, he had a ground ball/fly ball ratio of only .78, and 12.7 percent of those fly balls were home runs. Hitters are going to put the ball in the air against Bundy, but his stuff should be strong enough to keep it in the park at a reasonable rate.
Whether Bundy can regain his early season form is another question. In his first five starts, Bundy’s ERA sat at 1.42. He pitched at least six innings in four of those five starts, and struck out six or more in all five outings. Equally as impressive, Bundy walked two hitters or fewer in all five of those starts. That’s staff ace material. If the Orioles weren’t winning when Bundy pitched well, he’s currently 1-5, they certainly can’t afford for his struggles to continue.
There should be a return to the mean right? I’m not taking anything for granted. Dylan Bundy will likely record another out as a major league starter, but I’m not leaving anything to chance anymore.
Why so cautious? The second reason I provided to watch the Orioles was the development of Chance Sisco. That night, Sisco collided with Pedro Alvarez, who was playing third base for some reason, while attempting to catch a foul ball in the seventh inning of a loss to the Angels. Sisco exited the game early, and did not record a hit in the series in Anaheim.
Sisco avoided the disabled list, and returned to catch the final game of the series. However, he has yet to record a hit in three games after the collision. He went 0-5 with three strikeouts in Oakland Saturday night.
However, seeing how Sisco responds to adversity is still something to watch. The young gun has been serviceable at the plate and has kept runners honest on the base paths.
Tuesday’s shellacking served as a not so subtle reminder to Baltimore fans of how poorly the Orioles have been playing. The Royals defeated the Orioles 15-7 before an announced crowd of 10,863. The Orioles trailed by 14 in the sixth inning. After spending a week out west, the Orioles organization should not expect a spike in ticket sales during its nine game home stand.
Andrew Cashner will attempt to right the ship against Kansas City tonight. The righty is 1-4 with a 4.89 ERA and holds a 1.53 WHIP. Baltimore’s next six games are against teams with below .500 records. Whether the Birds, currently 8-27, can reach double digits in the win column during that stretch remains to be seen.
One thing is for certain, the Orioles need Bundy to return to form in the near future. Realistically, the Orioles need a lot more than that.