Did the Orioles really need to get back to playing against the American League East to snap their losing streak and look like the team that was one of the best in April?
I don’t think it’s that easy and things can quickly change tonight when Chris Tillman returns to the mound. All the credit must go to Dylan Bundy for continuing to look like the ace we have always envisioned. I just can’t get over how much of a veteran he looks like every time he toes the rubber. It continues to be a pleasure to watch and is much needed in a time when a number of Orioles are struggling.
One other note about Bundy; I have never been worried about his velocity as he is able to keep hitters off balance with his secondary pitches, but it was good to see his fastball have some extra juice. According to FanGraphs.com, Bundy’s average fastball velocity was 92.5 MPH yesterday, which was the second highest of the season. (he averaged 92.8 MPH in his first start).
Machado and Davis Continue to Struggle
There’s not much you can do when your best player and your highest-paid player look completely lost at the plate. It’s also extremely discouraging to hear Chris Davis says he can’t even identify what pitch is coming his way until it’s too late. This explains why he has so many strikeouts looking.
We have seen this numerous times with Davis and we know it just takes one swing for him to get back on track. It happened earlier this season and it will again. I would just like for the hot streak to last longer than a week this time (and we know it can).
However, when he is in a funk like this, it’s hard to watch.
Manny Machado is a different story as this is now a mental thing. He’s swinging at pitches he never does, he is slamming his equipment routinely and he never runs out a ground ball. Even when Machado wasn’t getting hits earlier this season, his outs were loud and he was among the leaders in exit velocity. Though he’s only slid down that particular list to sixth, you can see that his struggles are affecting him mentally.
If we want to look back to the second half of last season, here are Manny’s batting averages by month:
July – .204
August – .312
September – .241
April – .224
May (still two games left) – .210
The recent losses and the pitching struggles are most certainly causing Buck Showalter to lose sleep at night, but Machado’s brutal few months have to be close to the top of that list as well.
Former O’s Prospect Returns to the Bigs
The Orioles traded pitcher Parker Bridwell to the Los Angeles Angels in April for a player to be named later or cash considerations after previously designating him for assignment.
GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld
The 25-year-old returns to the big leagues tonight as a starter after being converted to a reliever in the minors by the Orioles last season. Bridwell has only given up four earned runs while striking out 26 in 28 2/3 innings between the Angels Double-A and Triple-A affiliates.
We all know the recent arms the Orioles have parted ways with over the last few seasons that have gone on to have success with their new teams. We’ll see if this is a spot start for Bridwell or if he will be up to make multiple starts.
While the Orioles refuse to release Ubaldo Jimenez and continue to give Tyler Wilson numerous opportunities, they traded away a good arm in Bridwell for nothing after making him a reliever and another organization is now using him as a starter in the big leagues.
Bridwell struggled in the minors for the Orioles, but had immediate success with the Angels. The question is: why does that continue to be a common theme?
Even with all the success the Orioles have had in recent seasons, I think it’s fair to question their handling of pitchers. It’s even more legitimate to question their stance on international spending, but that’s a debate for another day.
We’ll see how Bridwell does, but the fact that the Angels thought enough of him to make him a starting pitcher again and he has found his way back to the big leagues in only a month after being acquired is enough to question what the Orioles have been doing with the right-hander since he was drafted in 2010.