The Orioles kick off the second week of their season by heading to Boston, currently sitting in first place in the American League East. After having three off days already to start the year, the O’s will finally get into a routine, playing 15 games in the next 16 days.
Bundy Makes His Second Start of Season
It was nearly impossible to not get excited watching Dylan Bundy carve up the Blue Jays in his first start of the year. Bundy brought back his slider/cutter into his repertoire and it immediately paid off in a big way, making many Toronto hitters look silly. That pitch is what launched the right-hander up the prospect list and it is also what led to him undergoing Tommy John surgery and eventually having a setback before the Orioles scrapped that pitch until this season.
It will be interesting to see how much he uses that pitch tonight. The Red Sox will have more left-handed hitters than the Blue Jays did, but they are still a prominent righty lineup. Bundy will get Toronto again in his third start and that may be a true indicator of what to expect moving forward, as we will see if the Blue Jays hitters make any adjustments and if Bundy attacks them differently.
Regardless, it’s hard not to think about the season Bundy can have by bringing back a pitch that was considered his best and adding that to an already impressive arsenal.
Big Day for Tillman
The Orioles ace is scheduled to throw two innings or 30 pitches in Sarasota this afternoon and if all goes well, Chris Tillman will head out on a rehab assignment as he continues to progress from his shoulder injury.
The O’s can’t afford a setback. Outside of Bundy, the starting pitching staff has been a disaster through the first five games. I’m not worried about Kevin Gausman and still believe he’s in for a big season. However, Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley will always be inconsistent.
There will be a need for a fifth starter very soon, but no one in the minors has stepped up which is concerning, especially if Tillman isn’t ready to return by early May.
Birdland will be focused on tonight’s game in Boston, but the biggest news of the day will be what happens in Sarasota.
Have we seen the best of Darren O’Day? We all obviously hope not, but after battling injuries last year, the right-hander has started the 2017 season poorly, highlighted by his awful outing in the series finale against the Yankees.
Buck Showalter blames it on his lack of strength as he continues to recover from the flu, but O’Day says he is completely healthy.
Whatever the reason is, the O’s need to figure it out quick and get one of the most reliable relievers in all of baseball over the last five years back to his old self.
I have to trust O’Day’s track record, but the reality is, Showalter can’t put the veteran in any high-pressure situations until he shows he is back to his pre-2016 form. Depending on the situation, Showalter will more than likely look to Mychal Givens and Donnie Hart before he turns to O’Day.