Even with the Washington Nationals experiencing a renaissance, they didn't waver from their plan to shut down Stephen Strasburg. Forty miles up 1-95 however, the Baltimore Orioles have taken the opposite strategy with the most valued arm in their organization, promoting 19-year-old flamethrower Dylan Bundy for the stretch run.
The right-hander, the No. 4 overall pick in 2011, arrives with 1032Ú3 minor league innings pitched, 22 shy of his proscribed limit. He has a 9-3 record and a 2.08 ERA, with 28 walks and 119 strikeouts. The question isn't whether Bundy is ready, it's more about the fitness of his arm and how the Orioles plan to use him.
The Orioles say that Bundy will be available for relief. There's little doubt Baltimore needs bullpen help, especially after winning an 18-inning marathon in Seattle on Tuesday night. But is putting such a valued commodity on a schedule that's not structured and predictable a recipe for arm trouble?
Former major league pitcher and MASN analyst Mike Wallace doesn't expect Bundy's work to come sporadically.
"I don't think he'll pitch meaningful innings," Wallace said. "If it's his turn to pitch two days from now, the only way he makes an appearance I believe is if it's a blowout."
In 2008, Tampa Bay got strong September work from David Price in his first professional season after he had worked 109 minor league innings. But Price was three years older and had high-level experience at Vanderbilt.
- Kevin Dunleavy