Wow, we weren’t expecting this: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are calling up Dylan Bundy.
At the end of August the Orioles made up their minds to send Bundy to the instructional league and to not make him a part of their September callups. But when you play a ton of close games and then throw in an 18-inning affair like they played last night, the pitching gets taxed. Between a tired staff, a playoff push and a rested phenom, just sitting there and waiting to be used, it makes perfect sense that Bundy is getting the call.
Bundy played on three different levels in his first professional season. He obliterated low-A hitters, allowing only five hits and zero earned runs — I repeat, zero earned runs — in 30 innings. High-A was a bit more of a challenge, but the 19 year-old still posted a 6-3 record with a 2.84 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 54 innings. In double-A Bundy made three starts, winning two of them and allowing six earned runs in sixteen and two-thirds while striking out 13. His control was a but shaky, relatively speaking, once he started facing the older hitters.
His role with the big club: likely limited relief pitching. The O’s arms need a break. And the future of the franchise is there to give it to them.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.