Right-hander Dylan Bundy is scheduled to make the first start for his new team as the Los Angeles Angels try to put a nightmarish opening night behind them when they again visit the Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon.
The daytime affair follows a historic late-night opener. Joe Maddon made his return as Angels manager, Major League Baseball’s new extra-innings rules were put into play for the first time, and Matt Olson sent the teams home with a walk-off grand slam, delivering the A’s a 7-3, 10-inning triumph that would have been a crowd-pleaser had there been anyone in the stands.
“Definitely a weird one for us,” said Olson, whose grand slam was the second of his career. The walk-off homer was his third.
“It’s what we’ve been waiting for,” Olson continued. “We waited how many months for this? It’s the moments you live for.”
Olson also made a key defensive play in the top of the 10th inning. The Oakland first baseman fielded Jared Walsh’s sharp one-hopper and threw to third to nail Shohei Ohtani, who had become MLB’s first-ever “designated runner” when he was sent to second base to begin the extra inning.
The Angels wound up loading the bases but failed to score.
Neither team bunted in the hotly discussed situation in which each team begins its extra-inning at-bats with a runner at second.
Bundy pitched the first five seasons of his career for the Baltimore Orioles, for whom he went 38-45 with a 4.67 ERA. The 27-year-old, coming off a 7-14 season, was dealt to the Angels in December for four minor-leaguers.
After impressive stints both in the original spring training and in the more recent summer camp, the former fourth overall selection in the 2011 draft said he’s excited about showing his new organization what it got for the hefty price in the offseason.
“(Summer camp) went good,” the native Oklahoman said last week. “All the off-speed stuff was moving the way I wanted to. I was locating decent. You always can do better at locating the ball as a starting pitcher, but I’m excited for this season to start and to get out there. First time in red, so should be exciting.”
Bundy has pitched just one time previously in Oakland, getting the win in a 12-5 Orioles victory in August 2017. Overall, he’s gone 2-1 with a 5.04 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against the A’s.
Bundy has faced Olson nine times in their careers, with Friday’s hero going 3-for-9, including a home run.
Oakland will counter on the mound with left-hander Sean Manaea, who rebounded from shoulder surgery last year to help the A’s earn an American League wild-card spot by going 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in five late-season starts.
The 28-year-old was selected to start the wild-card playoff game against Tampa Bay but was ineffective, allowing four hits and four runs in two innings in a 5-1, season-ending defeat.
He did not face the Angels last season. Manaea has gone 2-3 with a 4.33 ERA against them in in eight career starts.
A matchup to watch will be Manaea against Angels standout Mike Trout, who reached base via a single, intentional walk and hit batsman in the opener. Trout has owned Manaea over the years, going 7-for-17 (.412) with a triple, three home runs, four RBIs and four walks.
–Field Level Media