The Los Angeles Angels were unable to secure a fourth consecutive victory and a sweep of the Houston Astros on Tuesday, losing 4-2 in a rare mid-week day game at Angel Stadium. After a last minute rotation switch by Joe Maddon, it was Dylan Bundy on then mound for the Halos.
After two innings, Bundy and Zack Greinke had each allowed two runs, as many assumed the hot Anaheim sun would make for a high-scoring affair. However, what broke out was a classic pitchers duel between two of the AL’s aces.
Bundy, in 6.0 innings pitched, gave up back-to-back solo home runs, but only four total hits and two walks to go along with 10 strikeouts in a 102-pitch performance. Greinke allowed two runs and five hits, in addition to four strikeouts, in 7.0 innings.
Maddon spoke highly of Bundy after his second great outing of 2021, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“He pitches like an ace,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s the best I can describe it. This guy pitches like he knows what he’s doing. His stuff is better than he’s been given credit for and he definitely has the mentality.”
On pitch No. 102 of the day for Bundy, he got Kyle Tucker — who had already hit a home run — looking on a fastball to get out of a jam that saw runners on second and third with only one out. Maddon actually wanted to keep Bundy in the game at that point.
“I didn’t want to take him out,” Maddon said. “He made some adjustments when it looked like they were sitting on breaking balls and you saw more fastballs. It was a very convicted fastball. I knew it was hot but I didn’t know it was that hot.”
Bundy was once a high velocity pitcher, hitting 100 mph at times. However, he lost a lot of that ability after Tommy John surgery, with his fastball sitting in the low 90’s. On Tuesday, he hit 95.1 mph, his fastest pitch since 2018.
The slider remains Bundy’s best pitch, but the return of 94-95 velocity means that his fastball could be making a furious comeback as he continues the career renaissance that started in 2020 with the Angels. It’s clear Maddon will continue to trust him as he leads the Angels rotation.
Aaron Slegers showing his best stuff for the Halos
Bundy is not the only one seeing improvements for Maddon’s Angels. Reliever Aaron Slegers, who was the eighth and final choice for the bullpen, has been extremely reliable through six games. He has given up zero runs in 3.1 innings pitched.