Bundy’s slider has long been his bread and butter, holding batters to a .168 batting average and .301 slugging percentage on that pitch for the last three seasons. On Saturday it was working quite well.
Bundy pitched 6⅔ innings in his Angels debut, allowing only a run on three hits. He walked zero and struck out seven, with five of the seven strikeouts finished by a slider.
Bundy induced eight swinging strikes out of the 30 total sliders he threw, per Baseball Savant. He went to the pitch more often than usual on Saturday, throwing it exactly a third of the time, compared to 23.5 percent from 2017-19.
“The more times you throw it, the more chances you’ll have at swinging and missing,” Bundy said after the game. “It was working today. They had a lot of righties in lineup. The slider and the fastball were the two pitches.”
Going deep into games was lacking for Angels pitchers in 2019, last in the majors in starts of both six and seven innings. They only had a pitcher last seven innings 10 times last year. Bundy came within an out of that on Saturday, before a Stephen Piscotty double ended his day. Piscotty scored on a single against reliever Keynan Middleton, charging Bundy with his only run allowed on the day, and the only run of the game for Oakland.
Saturday was the ninth start of Bundy’s career in which he struck out at least seven batters while walking none, and just the second such time that he allowed only one run.
“To me, he looked like Greg Maddux out there,” shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. “Hitting his spots, making this pitches, everything was working. He had guys swinging and missing by a lot. He looked really good to me.”
Early on, Sean Manaea kept the Angels on the ground almost exclusively, and retired his first 11 batters faced. His bid for a perfect game ended, as did the no-hitter and shutout thanks to Justin Upton taking him deep to left field for the first run of the game.
This was the 299th home run of Upton’s career.
The Angels tacked on more against Manaea in the fifth, with three two-out hits plating three runs, including successive doubles by Simmons and David Fletcher. Those two hits were more than the Angels had in scoring position in their loss in Friday’s opener.
“It was just an accumulation of little cuts and bumps and bruises that led to the double [by Simmons],” Joe Maddon said. “We had to wear him down. The guy was making mistakes, he was making really good pitches.”
Manaea’s outing was finished after that second double, amazingly ending his day after only 19 batters, which seemed unfathomable after retiring his first 11 Angels faced.
Home run: Justin Upton (1)
WP — Dylan Bundy (1-0): 6⅔ IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 7 strikeouts
LP — Sean Manaea (0-1): 4⅔ IP,5 hits, 4 runs, 3 strikeouts
Sv — Hansel Robles (1): 1 IP, 1 strikeout