Coming into Sunday, the Orioles ranked 28th among the 30 clubs with a 5.10 ERA from their starting pitchers. Only the rebuilding Reds (5.43) and Twins (5.26) have gotten worse work from their starters in 2016. Only Cincinnati (479) has gotten fewer innings from their rotation than Baltimore (482).

The O's are in first place in the AL East despite those rotation issues, but surely this is something they want to get straightened out. You won't go very far with a starting staff allowing that many runs and putting so much stress on the bullpen. The Orioles need only need higher quality innings, but more bulk innings as well.

On Sunday, young righty Dylan Bundy made his first MLB start as the O's look to improve their rotation. It did not go well. The Rays hammered Bundy for four runs, including three homers, in only 3 1/3 innings. He was on a strict pitch limit after spending the first half in the bullpen.

Bundy, 23, came into Sunday's start with an excellent 3.08 ERA (144 ERA+) in 38 innings as the team's long reliever this season. He didn't miss many bats (7.6 K/9) and he put a lot of guys on base (1.53), but you can't fault the O's for trying something new given their rotation to date.

The results weren't very good Sunday, but, to be fair, Bundy showed lively stuff in his 3 1/3 innings, hitting 96-97 mph with his fastball several times. One of the three homers he allowed came on a ridiculous piece of hitting by Oswaldo Arcia.

How did Arcia hit this pitch out? I have no idea, but he did. His hands are going in one direction and his lower half is going in the other. Crazy.

Anyway, Bundy had good velocity on his heater and he generated some swings and misses with his changeup. His stuff is not back to where it was a few years ago -- he was the No. 4 pick in the 2011 draft and the top pitching prospect in the game at one point, but injuries slowed him considerably -- but he looked good enough.

Dylan Bundy's first MLB start did not go well Sunday. USATSI

Even if Bundy turns into a serviceable starter down the stretch, that's probably not going to be enough to elevate the O's rotation to championship caliber. They still need another starter, and not just a reliable innings eater. They could use someone who would start Game 1 or 2 in a postseason series. An impact pitcher.

Among the starters who figure to be on the market at the trade deadline are Padres righty Andrew Cashner, Athletics lefty Rich Hill, Yankees righties Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi, Rays righty Jake Odorizzi, and Rays lefty Matt Moore. Hill is, by far, the best pitcher on that list, which means many other teams are going to want him.

For now, the O's are going to rely on their homer happy offense and deep bullpen to carry a patchwork rotation. The Red Sox have already made moves to get better (Drew Pomeranz, Brad Ziegler, Aaron Hill) and you can bet the Blue Jays will too. The O's will have to do the same to stay in the first place.