On Friday, July 20, the Blue Jays return from the all-star break with a three-game series with the, now, Manny Machado-less, Baltimore Orioles. Sam Gaviglio started before the break, and he will start coming out of the break for the Blue Jays. Dylan Bundy will climb the hill for the Orioles.
Dylan Bundy’s season could be best described as inconsistent. At times the starter has looked untouchable, while other times he’s been shelled. For example, five games into the season, the righty held an incredible 1.42 ERA. However, he closed out the month with a seven earned run stinker against the Rays, doubling his ERA to 2.97.
Over his next two starts, the right-hander somehow found a way to be worse. In his eighth start, particularly, the righty looked as if he had never pitched in the majors before. The Orioles starter did not register a single out in the start but allowed seven earned runs on five hits—including four home runs. However, as is the trend with the right-handed hurler, he bucked any consistency after this start and pitched a scoreless seven-inning outing just five days later.
To add to his season of confusion, the Orioles starter was placed on the disabled list in June. While pitching a win over the Atlanta Braves, the starter hurt his ankle attempting to run the bases.
Bundy’s overall season numbers are incredibly average, posting a 4.35 ERA, 4.55 FIP, 1.306 WHIP, and 95 ERA+. As well, despite his inconsistency, the Baltimore hurler has still been worth 1.1 fWAR.
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With uninspiring numbers, it is unsurprising that the stuff the pitcher offers is also weak. The Baltimore starter will mix between a four-seam fastball, slider, change-up, curveball, and sinker. While he offers five different pitches, the pitcher is primarily fastball-slider.
The right-hander has thrown his four-seam fastball 48.88% of the time this season. The heater is not that fast, posting an average velocity of 92.20 mph. The fastball has been terrible this season, allowing a .533 SLGA, including 11 home runs. As well, the pitch has been responsible for 22 walks, while striking out just 25.
Bundy has thrown his great slider 26.05% of the time this season. The pitch averages a velocity of 81.86 mph, with great drop—and slight cut—to the glove side. The movement has been so great that the slider has resulted in whiffs at a crazy rate of 52.36% of swings. This rate has translated into 75 strikeouts on the season. The slider is the go-to strikeout pitch against right-handed batters, as the pitch has been featured with two strikes 58% of the time.
The right-handed hurler has changed speeds on batters 9.11% of the time this season. The off-speed pitch averages a speed of 84.38 mph, with decent arm side run and drop. The change has not been effective this year, allowing a terrible .565 SLGA with three home runs.
The Orioles starter has offered up curveballs 9.11% of the time this season. The curve maintains decent cut and 12-6 drop. The pitch is made more deceptive out of his high overhand release. Despite this, the breaking ball has been terrible, posting a .435 BAA, .696 SLGA, with just five strikeouts.
Bundy completes his repertoire with a sinker, a pitch he has thrown 6.86% of the time this season. The sinking fastball is just a little slower than the four-seamer, posting an average velocity of 91.98 mph. While the pitch has posted an uninspiring .320 BAA, not many of the balls have been hard hit; just one of the eight hits the pitch has surrendered have gone for extra bases.
The right-handed starter has a respectable strikeout to walk ratio. Through 18 starts, he has posted a 25.7% K-rate and 9.84 K/9—both numbers are certainly nothing to scoff at. However, he has also allowed a below average 7.7% BB-rate and 2.96 BB/9.
Despite his unremarkable stuff and poor numbers, the Blue Jays have had their fair share of struggles against the righty. In fact, Russell Martin hasn’t even managed a hit in nine career at-bats against the Oriole. Promisingly, though, his backup, Luke Maile, has been much better, managing two hits in four trips to the plate. As a depiction of how much they have struggled, the best-sustained success against Bundy has come from Justin Smoak, who is just three-for-eight with a double against the Oklahoma native.
The Blue Jays have poor numbers against the right-hander but coming off of a break, and in the middle of a cold streak, the team may be able to find a weak spot in the pitcher. The first half was certainly one to forget for the Jays, they will look to start the second half on a positive note with a Friday night showdown against the Baltimore Orioles.