WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—Even on a short leash, Dylan Bundy impresses.
In a start against high Class A Winston-Salem Thursday night, he went five innings and threw just 57 pitches, about 70 percent of which were strikes. He muzzled a hard-hitting Dash team that leads the Carolina League in scoring, giving up four hits and one earned run while earning his fourth victory in six decisions. His Frederick Keys earned a 4-2 victory.
Steve Melewski of MASN.com has reported the Orioles are limiting Bundy's pitch count for a stretch leading up to the Futures Game, and Bundy adjusted, pitching with efficiency. He had an eight-pitch inning followed by a five-pitch frame.
"I can go 80 to 85 pitches in a game right now, or five innings, whichever comes first," Bundy told the Winston-Salem Journal. "Tonight was five innings. I really would like to have gone out there for more. Fifty-seven pitches isn't a big workload I don't think, but that's the organization's plan and I guess they're sticking to it."
In the first inning, Bundy's approach was all about heat. His first pitch was 92 mph, but there was nothing below 94 the rest of the way. He sat 94-97 and touched 98 three times. Through the first three innings, he got more efficient each time to the mound. He threw 12 pitches in the first, eight in the second and five in the third.
He hit a rough patch in the fourth when he allowed a run on four hits, but only two balls were hit hard and two runners were eliminated on the bases with a caught stealing and play at the plate. He threw his curveball just four times and it didn't have quite the sharp bite that he has shown in warm-ups.
Bundy hit one batter, walked none and struck out five. One scout in attendance said his fastball lacked life, but emphasized that he was nitpicking, and Bundy wasn't mixing in his two-seamer or cutter–both pitches that should be at least average for him down the road.
"You could see a plus arm, a plus breaking ball, a plus change-up," Dash manager Tommy Thompson told the Journal. "We hit some balls hard on him and had some chances, but they got a great play throwing out the runner at home in the fourth inning or we would have been ahead. But he's going to be a nice pitcher. He's young, but you can see a lot of talent."
On the flip side, Dash righthander Jake Petricka's struggles continued. He threw four innings, allowed three hits and walked seven. Frederick hitters were extremely patient as Petricka's command was poor. His fastball sat in the low 90s but he couldn't find the zone with it. He seemed to have better command of his changeup, throwing it in fastball counts and for first-pitch strikes. Frederick loaded its lineup with lefthanded hitters, so Petricka rarely went to his curveball.