Six years into his major league career, it is clear that Los Angeles Angels right-hander Dylan Bundy simply was on the wrong coast previously.
Bundy gets a chance to add another first-rate start to the pile when the Angels play host to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.
Bundy, who hails from Oklahoma, played five seasons on the East Coast for the Baltimore Orioles, winning 13 games once but never delivering better than a 4.02 ERA. In 2018, he tied for the major league lead with 16 losses.
In his first season on the West Coast with the Angels, he has been the best the club has to offer from the mound. He is 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA overall, 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA over his past three outings. The Angels are 6-3 when he starts and are 14-26 in all other games, yet another indicator of his value.
Bundy will enter Wednesday’s start coming off a season-best 12-strikeout game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday. It was his third double-digit strikeout game of the season.
“Pitching in Baltimore, in the AL East, in that ballpark creates resolve within you,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said about Bundy. “The AL East is a great training ground for pitchers, it really is. You have to get hitters out in the strike zone, there’s probably not a lot of chase. And that’s why you always got to like a guy that has had success there. And that’s the very simple reason. He knows how to pitch in the zone and get people out.”
Like the Angels (20-29), the Diamondbacks (18-31) are hardly playing to expectations. Even so, they erupted for a 9-8 victory over the Angels on Tuesday, and the offense figures to provide a worthy challenge to Bundy.
The Diamondbacks’ Kole Calhoun hit two home runs in his first game against his former team, driving in five with three total hits on the night.
Arizona will send left-hander Caleb Smith (0-0, 3.00) to the mound on Wednesday. It will be his second start for Arizona since being acquired at the trade deadline from the Miami Marlins. Smith was part of the return package for outfielder Starling Marte.
Smith went just three innings in his Diamondbacks debut Friday, giving up one run on one hit and one walk with three strikeouts against the Seattle Mariners. He showed far better control than in his one start with the Marlins this season on July 25, when he walked six Philadelphia Phillies in three innings.
He will face an Angels team that rallied Tuesday from a seven-run deficit against four-time All-Star Madison Bumgarner, tagging the former San Francisco Giants ace with a career-high-tying eight earned runs and a career-high 13 hits.
The Diamondbacks think Smith has the resolve to do just fine Wednesday. He showed his new team what he is all about when he objected to coming out of Friday’s game.
“Yeah, I knew the game plan coming into the game, I knew I had three innings,” Smith said afterward. “But if I start something, I like to finish it. That’s just my mentality. I’m always going to ask for more, but at the end of the day, it’s not my call. …
“I’m ecstatic to be with this organization. I’m really happy with where I’m at.”
–Field Level Media