Bauer goes bulldog in latest quality outing

Righty fights off 28-pitch 1st to go deep into game

Alex Hooper
June 23, 2018 - 10:36 pm
Jun 23, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (47) tips his hat to fans as he leaves the field during the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.

© Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Not many pitchers can weather a 28-pitch inning and live to see the 7th inning, but with Trevor Bauer’s arm endurance, not much can stop him from breaking through into the final third of a game.

Bauer labored through his first frame, though not to the level of opposing number Francisco Liriano’s 40-pitch first, but unlike the southpaw, the Indians’ starter leveled out and pressed on. Whereas Liriano only recorded 12 outs on 75 pitches, Bauer recovered from the first with innings of 19, 14, 17, 17, and 11 pitches.

After a rough 1st, Saturday became Bauer’s 12th quality start in 16 outings.

“With most guys you kind of panic,” Manager Terry Francona said of the long 1st. “With Trevor, you kind of know that he’s going to hold his stuff and go find a way.”

The pitcher himself maintained he could have pressed through to the 8th had he not walked Tigers right fielder Nicholas Castellanos on five ‘non-competitive’ pitches in the 5th, leading to a six-pitch strikeout of Victor Martinez to end the frame.

“So, I cost myself probably a couple extra hitters in that sequence,” Bauer said. “I had that one 30-pitch inning in the first and then everything else was fairly normal for me. I sat at like the 15-ish pitch per inning range, so overall, I was pretty happy with it.”

High pitch counts are not just familiar territory for the AL leader in pitcher fWAR (3.9), rather a home. With his 112 pitch outing, Bauer has thrown 100+ pitches in each of his 16 starts, the longest active MLB streak and the longest for an Indians pitcher since full pitch count data became available in 1988.

Bauer has dominated the Tigers so far in 2018, entering his fourth shot at the 2nd-place team in the lowly AL Central having allowed three earned over 23 innings. He slightly raised his 1.17 ERA against the Tigers this season to 1.23 on a wild pitch in the 2nd, but it was the lone run allowed by the righty.

Francona hypothesized that the more exposure to a singular pitcher begets more positive results, a widely-held belief in the game, but it has not halted Bauer, who remained dominant in his fourth go-around.

Bauer is actually one of the few hurlers in the game who holds his results while going from his second trip through a lineup to his third. The 27-year-old’s slash line has only jumped modestly from .154/.230/.236 the first time through to .208/.291/.358 the second, and .241/.301/.348 the third.

The righty attributed his ability to hold serve through his third trip to his growing arsenal of pitches, and the ability to ‘hit three different levels, left to right, in, up and down.’

“I have a lot of things I can go to that can kind of disguise what I'm trying to do to a hitter or even just get a hitter out multiple different ways,” he said. “So, I think I'm a lot better prepared arsenal-wise this year to face the same lineup multiple times in a row or in close succession to each other.”