Bundy's consistency a boon to Orioles

Starter fans 7 over 7 frames in ninth quality start of season

Bundy's consistency a boon to Orioles

BALTIMORE -- A year ago, Dylan Bundy wasn't even in the Orioles' starting rotation. Now, it's tough to imagine where they'd be without him.

Sure, the O's weren't able to capitalize on the righty's latest quality start, a seven-inning outing that ended as a loss in Tuesday's 2-0 defeat by the Twins. But on the heels of a bullpen-crushing four-inning outing from Ubaldo Jimenez, plus the O's pitching scuffles as a whole this month, Bundy remains rock solid.

"The thing that made him so intriguing to a lot of people coming out of the Draft is that he was more than a thrower then, and it was plus stuff," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Bundy. "I've talked to a lot of people who saw him in high school and his first year. But there's a couple outs there that some people aren't getting. The strikeout of [Joe] Mauer there to keep it at one, pitching that seventh inning. Even the sixth, he got through it and had some manageable pitch counts. He found some things that worked."

In 10 starts this year, nine of them have been quality, with Bundy pitching to a 2.92 ERA in 64 2/3 innings. Even in the one outlier, in Detroit this past week, Bundy was still able to go six innings and keep the Orioles in a one-run game.

Much was expected of the 24-year-old Bundy entering the season, as many thought the Orioles' success hinged on how well Bundy and Kevin Gausman did. And while Gausman has gotten off to slow start, Bundy has emerged as an ace. He's a dependable, unflappable pitcher, and he's been able to duel with guys like Minnesota's Ervin Santana -- who tossed his second shutout this season.

"I wouldn't say I really think about [being in a pitchers' duel] too much. You just know that going into the game and try to limit your mistakes to those hitters over there," Bundy said of the tough draw against Santana. "Really [I'm] more upset over the homer I gave up to [Brian] Dozier over there in the seventh inning. Could've gotten us in the dugout a little quicker, it might have changed things."

Besides Dozier's solo shot, Byron Buxton's RBI single in the fifth was the only other run scored for Minnesota. Bundy struck out seven and allowed six hits in the 107-pitch outing.

Bundy, inserted into the rotation on July 16, 2016, because of need, has been a rock for the O's this season. And being on the losing end of Tuesday night isn't going to change a thing.

"Dylan was really good. There's a certain rhythm to the defense when you're pitching like that," Showalter said. "First play that Jonathan [Schoop] made in the first inning. There's a tempo and something you always stress with your pitchers. Those plays seem to be made behind guys with that type of tempo and throwing strikes.

"[The Twins are] a tough team. They've got a lot weapons, well-put-together roster, a lot of pieces that fit."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.