In Dylan Bundy’s first season with the Los Angeles Angels, he put together the best season of his career. He was so good, in fact, that he received some Cy Young votes and got the chance to be the 2021 Opening Day Starter. Since then, it has been a dramatic fall from grace that has opened up opportunities for 23-year old lefty Jose Suarez.
Bundy had a decent start to the season, repping a 4.20 ERA and 1.1 WHIP at the end of April. However, May was a horrible month for someone who was once considered the team’s ace. Since May 1, he has an ERA of 8.51 and an opponent OPS of .971. The most recent start came against the New York Yankees, when he allowed two earned runs in 1.2 innings before leaving the game due to heat exhaustion.
That’s when Suarez cemented himself as a starting-caliber pitcher, giving manager Joe Maddon the perfect chance to make a major rotational switch, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“It just seems the right time to give Suarez the opportunity,” Maddon said. “It seems like the right time to give Dylan a chance to reset. And who knows how this is gonna play out the rest of the year. Things just happen.”
“Veteran pitcher, struggling a bit and a young pitcher pitching really well,” Maddon said. “He gets it. He knows that if he works like he will, and gets things back together, there’s probably going to be another opportunity. And he knows that.”
This season, Suarez has pitched 27.1 innings in long relief for the Angels. In that time, he has an ERA of 1.98, a WHIP of 1.098, and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.89. Maddon spoke about what he’s seen from Suarez to help make this decision easier.
“Everybody’s been really impressed,” Maddon said. “He’s a different guy this year. He’s really, for the first time, revealing his personality beyond his ability to pitch. And it’s really interesting.”
This is the second veteran pitcher to lose his starting spot to a younger Angels prospect who made a big leap this season. Earlier in June, Patrick Sandoval officially replaced Jose Quintana in the rotation with the latter moving tp the bullpen.
The move already appears to have paid off for Bundy, as he put together 2.0 great innings of long relief in an Angels win over the Yankees just two days after his rough start on the mound.
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