The Orioles surprised the baseball world earlier this month by calling up top prospect Manny Machado. Could they do the same thing with 19-year-old Dylan Bundy? Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com seems to think so.
As each day passes, it seems more obvious that Bundy will be called up and make his major league debut before the season ends. At age 19. After beginning the year at low Single-A Delmarva.
Bundy figured to get an inning here and there out of the bullpen, but not according to the latest rumor, which has the Orioles recalling him on Aug. 31 and giving him a start on Sept. 6 against the Yankees at Camden Yards.
Keep in mind that what I’m passing along hasn’t been confirmed to me by anyone in the front office. And on the surface, it seems pretty strange that the Orioles would hand the ball to Bundy in the heat of a pennant race against the first-place team in the American League East – assuming that the Orioles haven’t overtaken them. But nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to the 2012 Orioles and their improbable run toward the playoffs.
Well, that would be something. Orioles manager Buck Showalter was actually asked last night if there were going to be any surprises in the starting rotation once rosters expand on September 1, but he smiled and played coy while saying, “I know what you’re getting at.”
Bundy, the fourth overall pick in last year’s First-Year Player Draft, has quickly emerged as one of the top prospects in all of baseball by posting a 2.01 ERA and 113/24 K/BB ratio over his first 22 professional starts. He has allowed five runs (four earned) over 11 innings in his first two starts since a recent promotion to Double-A Bowie. The teenage right-hander recently got the stamp of approval from future Hall of Famer Jim Thome.
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.