Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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What’s on Tap: Previewing Sunday’s action

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Dylan Bundy was the Orioles’ first round pick — the fourth pick overall — in the 2011 draft. In 2012 the Orioles moved him quickly through three minor league levels and gave him two late season appearances out of the big club’s bullpen. He excelled that year and, heading into the 2013 season was considered the number two prospect in the entire game by Baseball America and MLB.com. He was thought of as a top-5 prospect by basically everyone else.

Then the injuries happened.

Bundy missed all of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery. Following his recovery he pitched only nine games in 2014 and then only eight games in 2015, thanks in part to shoulder problems. Heading into this season the Orioles’ expectations for him were likely nil, even if they were hopeful that the still young pitcher could make a nice career for himself. He’s just 23, after all.

It’s been a totally different year for Bundy this season. He began 2016 in the Orioles bullpen, and he’s done a nice job. He’s tossed 38 innings in 22 appearances as the Orioles’ long man, allowing 13 earned runs (3.08 ERA) and striking out 32 while walking 12. In his most recent outing on July 6, 2016, Bundy retired all seven Dodgers he faced in two and a third innings.

The Orioles, while possessing a nice offense and while sitting in first place in the AL East, have some serious starting pitching problems. Today they’ll give Bundy his first ever major league start, no doubt seeing if they can rectify their rotation woes internally, for free, before wading out into the trade market. He’ll face the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:10 PM Eastern time.

I don’t root for the Orioles, but I do root for guys who’ve had a rough go of it like Bundy has. Here’s hoping the once promising prospect has put his injury history behind him and can put together something approaching the kind of career so many anticipated for him four or five years ago.

The rest of today’s matchups:

Baltimore Orioles (Dylan Bundy) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi), 1:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field

Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura) @ Detroit Tigers (Michael Fulmer), 1:10 PM EDT, Comerica Park

Milwaukee Brewers (Zach Davies) @ Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily), 1:10 PM EDT, Great American Ball Park

Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray) @ Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran), 1:35 PM EDT, Turner Field

New York Mets (Jacob deGrom) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Zach Eflin), 1:35 PM EDT, Citizens Bank Park

Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer), 1:35 PM EDT, Nationals Park

Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin) @ Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson), 2:10 PM EDT, Target Field

Miami Marlins (Adam Conley) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha), 2:15 PM EDT, Busch Stadium

Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels) @ Chicago Cubs (John Lackey), 2:20 PM EDT, Wrigley Field

Chicago White Sox (Jacob Turner) @ Los Angeles Angels (Jered Weaver), 3:35 PM EDT, Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ) @ Oakland Athletics (Rich Hill), 4:05 PM EDT, Oakland Coliseum

Houston Astros (Collin McHugh) @ Seattle Mariners (Mike Montgomery), 4:10 PM EDT, Safeco Field

Los Angeles Dodgers (Kenta Maeda) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray), 4:10 PM EDT, Chase Field

San Francisco Giants (Johnny Cueto) @ San Diego Padres (Edwin Jackson), 4:40 PM EDT, Petco Park

Boston Red Sox (David Price) @ New York Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka), 8:05 PM EDT, Yankee Stadium

Padres beat the Giants on a 10th inning walkoff balk

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Here’s something you don’t see every day: a walkoff balk.

The Padres led the Giants until the sixth inning in San Diego last night, before the NL West leaders tied it up. In the 10th inning Buster Posey hit a homer to give the visitors a one-run lead. But it wasn’t over yet.

In the bottom of the 10th the Friars rallied. First Alex Dickerson and Derek Norris singled. Norris stole second putting men on second and third, bringing up Adam Rosales, who singled in Dickerson and moved Norris over to third with nobody out. Giants pitcher Santiago Casilla would have to bear down!

Instead he almost fell down. Mid-delivery. That’s a balk, my friends, and a balk advances the runners one base. Norris scored. That made it 7-6 which made it the ballgame:

What a way to win a ballgame. What a way to lose a ballgame.

Astros sign Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel

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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that the Houston Astros have signed Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel to 5-year, $47.5 million deal.

Gurriel, a 32-year-old third baseman, batted .535 with a 1.615 OPS and 10 home runs over 23 games last season in Cuba’s Serie Nacional and he registered a 1.009 OPS in 49 games the season before. Here’s a scouting report on Gurriel from 2080’s Dave Defriates from a few months back. Short version: his bat probably plays in the bigs right now, but his defense can be erratic, even if he is generally competent at third. At 32 you figure that the defense will not improve, of course, so his window as a big contributor is likely to be somewhat narrow, even if he could provide a lot of help to a club for a few years with his bat.

It’s unclear what Houston’s plans are for Gurriel, but they could use help at first base and DH, and it’s not crazy to think the Gurriel could slot into those positions. Alternative, Luis Valbuena could move across the diamond to first base — he’s played there a little bit in the past — and Gurriel could play his natural position.

One assumes there will be some minor league ramp-up time first, but the Astros do have a lot of ground to cover to catch the Rangers, and Gurriel could help them cover it.