Dylan Bundy’s scorching start to season abruptly ends in sweltering heat in Angels’ loss
The first home-run ball off the bat of the San Francisco Giants did not surprise Dylan Bundy, the Angels right-hander whose belt-high 90-mph fastball to Mike Yastrzemski was driven over the right-field wall to open an eventual 8-2 Giants victory Tuesday.
“The heater, the first one, that leaked over the middle of the plate,” Bundy said. “I expected him to hit that one out with the bad location.”
The second long ball was a bit of a shocker. After issuing a walk to Evan Longoria to lead off the second inning, Bundy threw a 91-mph shoulder-high fastball to Pablo Sandoval, who somehow got his barrel to the pitch and smacked a two-run homer to right field for a 3-1 San Francisco lead.
“That one kind of confused me,” Bundy said. “That’s kind of where I wanted to throw it — way up there — because you know he can hit certain pitches. That was where I wanted to throw it, so you just gotta tip your cap to him for hitting that one out. Not much I can do on that.”
Giants reliever Shaun Anderson threw two 95-mph fastballs near the head of Angels star Mike Trout in the ninth inning of San Francisco’s 8-2 victory.
A scorching afternoon in Angel Stadium — the game-time temperature was 99 degrees with a heat index of 108 degrees — didn’t get any better for Bundy, who had emerged as an early American League Cy Young Award candidate with a 3-1 record and 1.57 ERA in his first four starts.
Bundy walked a batter and gave up an RBI single to Brandon Belt in the third inning. He needed a nice play by second baseman Luis Rengifo, who made a lunging backhand grab of Alex Dickerson’s grounder up the middle to escape a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.
Bundy lasted only four innings and 73 pitches in his fifth start, allowing four runs and four hits, striking out three and walking four, one intentional. In 28 2/3 innings of his first four starts, Bundy struck out 35 and walked only three.
“Nothing was working from the very beginning, and you saw it,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He didn’t have his typical command of everything like he has had. He tried to elevate his fastball a couple of times and got whacked.”
Bundy, acquired from Baltimore in December, was dominant in his previous two starts, allowing one run and four hits, striking out 10 and walking none in a complete-game win at Seattle on Aug. 6, and allowing four hits, striking out 10 and walking one in seven scoreless innings of a win against Oakland on Aug. 11.
His game-winning home run in Monday’s 7-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants cements his All-Star status since becoming a starter.
After Bundy threw 107 pitches against Seattle and 103 against Oakland, Maddon gave his ace two extra days before Tuesday’s start, which came on six days’ rest.
“I don’t think that matters at all,” Bundy said of the extra rest. “Just the fact I was missing two inches off the plate today.”
Bundy had excellent command of his slider and changeup in his first four starts and kept hitters off balance by mixing off-speed pitches with pin-point control of his fastball. But he was not as sharp or dominant Tuesday, generating misses on just five of the 27 pitches the Giants swung at.
“The slider wasn’t very good today — it kept backing up on me,” Bundy said. “And the changeup was moving a lot. … I was missing off the plate, especially with the changeup.”
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