In watching the first inning of Dylan Bundy's start Wednesday, one might have thought he wouldn't last long. That would have been wrong.
The Orioles' No. 2 prospect fanned eight and allowed an unearned run on two hits over a career-high 6 2/3 innings as Class A Advanced Frederick defeated Lynchburg, 7-1.
Bundy endured a rocky first inning, allowing a double to Nick Ahmed, walking Chris Garcia and balking the runners over with two outs. A fielding error by second baseman Travis Adair allowed Ahmed to score, but Bundy ended the frame by getting Michael Spina to ground out.
"I had two walks in two innings and didn't really have a whole lot on my fastball. I wasn't commanding it very well," Bundy said. "Then after that I settled in and started throwing a lot of strikes with my fastball and getting my curveball over for strikes and bouncing it for strikeouts. Later in the game, I started using my changeup more."
Bundy settled in to retire 14 straight batters after walking Bobby Stevens to open the second. Garcia ended the streak with a leadoff double in the seventh. The 19-year-old right-hander left after striking out Edward Salcedo and Spina.
"I was pleased, I was a little frustrated not getting the last out of the seventh," MLB.com's No. 7 prospect said. "But pitch count is pitch count. Definitely not my best pro start. I've definitely had some more quality starts. I'm not a big fan of walks, let's just put it that way."
Bundy, who was eight short of his pitch count of 100, got a chance to pitch in front of Orioles general manager Jim Duquette. While most young players might be nervous, Bundy was calm on the mound.
"Not at all, he's just another guy in the stands," he said.
Since his May promotion to Frederick, Bundy had not gone more than five innings in a start. The Oklahoma native is 5-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 10 starts for the Keys, a strong season for any pitcher, but especially for one who is not allowed to use his best pitch. Baltimore asked Bundy to shelve his cutter in an attempt to get him to work on his other pitches.
"I lost my curveball a little bit for a month-and-a-half this year and I worked real hard to get back to it and get my arm speed up to it," Bundy said. "In my past three starts, my curveball has been there for me. I've been able to throw low strikes in the zone and throw some in the dirt for strikeouts. Other than fastball command low in the zone, I've been leaning on my curveball."
The decision to ask Bundy to do without his best pitch doesn't sit well with him, though the long-term effects remain to be seen.
"I wouldn't say it makes me a better pitcher at all," he said. "You want to be a good pitcher and you have four pitches and you're only using three of them them, how is that making you any better? I'm still a 19-year-old kid, I don't look too far ahead of myself and look what could be in the long term. I'm just focused on right now."
Eric Beaulac allowed a hit over 1 1/3 innings in relief of Bundy. Matt Bywater fanned the only batter he faced in the ninth and Oscar Melendez recorded the final two outs for the Keys.
Steve Bumbry scored three times and drove in two runs, while Michael Mosby was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
Aaron Northcraft fell to 8-9 after allowing three unearned runs on three hits and fanned eight over six innings for the Hillcats.