After a wild weekend in New York, it was another crazy night in Boston with the terrible defense for the Red Sox and the unthinkable acts from some of their fans. The Orioles, like they have done often in the Buck Showalter era, persevered and won a ballgame in tough conditions.
It won’t get any easier tonight as Chris Sale takes the mound for the Red Sox. If you play daily fantasy baseball, Sale will be a popular choice tonight as not only is he good, but the Orioles struggle big time against lefties as they have struck out 82 times in only 286 at bats against them this season. The good news is Zach Britton is expected to be activated from the disabled list which should stabilize the back end of the bullpen and put the relievers back in their natural roles.
Bundy Continues to Impress
Obviously, it’s extremely impressive how well Dylan Bundy is pitching, but I’m more encouraged at the way he approaches every start. After a start in which his fastball velocity was down a couple miles per hour and he only relied on that pitch 36.8 percent of the time according to FanGraphs.com, the young right-hander flipped the script. He used his fastball 60.4 percent of the time on Monday night and the velocity returned to the levels at which we are accustomed.
Bundy has also faced the Red Sox three times this season (seems crazy, right?) and has attacked that lineup differently every time. We’re watching a young pitcher with not many innings under his belt basically be a different pitcher every time he takes the bump and he’s doing it with tremendous success.
How can teams adjust when he adjusts before they are able to?
Trumbo Remembering How to Hit
Mark Trumbo has been terrible since the start of the second half last season, but he has collected six hits in his last four games including a couple of extra base hits. Showalter won’t be sitting Trumbo anytime soon and won’t lower him in the lineup either, so hopefully this is the start of the veteran looking like the hitter that was one of the best in baseball through the first half of 2016.
Down on The Farm
Don’t look now, but D.J. Stewart is starting to look like the hitter the Orioles envisioned when they selected the outfielder in the first round of the 2015 draft. The 23-year-old has collected 17 hits in his last 10 games including three home runs for the Bowie Baysox. For the season, Stewart is batting .275 with five home runs, 20 RBIs and four stolen bases. He also has a very respectable .341 on base percentage and .903 OPS. Due to the injury to my favorite player, Cedric Mullins, Stewart has been leading off and that coincides with his recent hot streak.
The other first round draft pick in 2015 was shortstop Ryan Mountcastle, and he is also off to a strong start for high-A Frederick. The 20-year-old went through a little slump towards the end of April, but has bounced back nicely with nine hits in his last five games. Mountcastle is currently batting .323 with an on base percentage of .360 so he fits right in with only five walks.
However, the youngster has five home runs with 16 RBIs and one stolen base. There is still debate around whether Mountcastle will remain a shortstop, but I like how the Orioles are keeping him at the position for now. If he can keep up this success and eventually land in Bowie, he could potentially be a player to watch in 2018.
Last year’s first-round selection Cody Sedlock was off to a great start in Frederick as well, but had a hiccup in his last start as he allowed seven earned runs in 4.2 innings pitched. I’m giving him a mulligan as he didn’t allow more than three earned runs in his previous four starts which also included three starts of allowing one earned run or less. The right-hander has a nice 21:8 strikeout to walk ratio. I like seeing young players have a bad stretch or a bad start as it’s an opportunity to see how they bounce back. I’d imagine Sedlock will be dealing when he takes the mound again.