Bauer Finding Control and Success in Columbus
Matt Travis | On 22, Apr 2013
Trevor Bauer has been has been the talk of many Indians fans this season, hoping he could be the missing piece in the rotation. While he struggled in his only start this season for the Tribe, he has been pitching quite well in Columbus, striking out 16 batters in 13 innings while only giving up 10 hits, three runs and four walks.
When he was given his chance to pitch in the majors this season, he left many doubting his ability to control his pitches and stay in the strike zone. During his one start this season for the Indians, Bauer went five innings, struggling heavily to find the zone. His walks outnumbered his strikeouts seven to two. Despite the fact he only surrendered two hits and three earned runs, his total lack of control was his downfall and got him sent back to Triple-A Columbus. He received the loss for his one start and has an ERA of 5.40 with the Indians.
Bauer felt overall he pitched poorly but had moments where he shined during his first start as an Indian, “It was a struggle for sure, but I did make some good pitches in key situations and got out of some jams,” Bauer said after his Indians start. “I had a rough first and third, and then after that I kind of found it again.”
Once he was sent to Columbus he seemed to find his control again and settled in nicely. For his first start in Triple-A this year, he pitched at home against the division leading Indianapolis Indians. Bauer was locked in right away, striking out two of the first three batters he faced. He gave up his only run of the game in the second inning on a solo home run. He followed his only real slip up of the game by retiring the next five batters, including striking out the side in the third inning. Overall he finished the game with six innings pitched, four hits, one run and earned the win. The most important part of his day however was his much-improved control over his start in Cleveland, as he walked only three batters and struck out nine.
“It was a solid outing for him,” Clippers manager Chris Tremie told the Columbus Dispatch after his first start. “He really threw some good breaking balls. His curveball was good. He spins it pretty good. His slider was good. He kept the ball down. You know, he’s got four pitches. When he’s throwing them all for strikes like he was the majority of the time today, he’s pretty tough.”
His next outing was just as impressive as his first, as he pitched on the road at the Toledo Mudhens. He started off the game perfectly, retiring the first six batters he faced in only 21 pitches. Three out of the first six batters were strikeout victims for Bauer. Bauer started the third inning with a leadoff double but was able to keep the damage at only a run by retiring the next three batters in order. The only time Bauer allowed more the one hit in an inning was the fifth inning, when he allowed his only other run on the day, a single followed by double. Bauer was able to pitch seven innings, allowing only six hits, with two earned runs and a no decision. As was the case in his first minor league start this season, his focus was on controlling his pitches, allowing only one walk while striking out seven batters.
Overall the two starts in Triple-A for Bauer have been nothing but promising. He was effective at finding the zone, throwing 98 pitches in his first start, with 53 strikes and 45 balls. He improved on his strike to ball ratio in his second start, throwing 92 pitches with 56 strikes and 36 balls. He has kept his opponents batting average down to only .233 and his ERA at only 2.08.
It seems like it is only a matter of time before Bauer gets the call to come back up to Cleveland but for now he needs to keep up his current trend. He has mixed his pitches well to keep the batters off balance, found the strike zone much better, and has limited the walks so the few hits he has given have not hurt the team. Overall, Bauer is thriving in Columbus with his numbers showing the pitcher he can become for the Tribe. When he gets the call to return to Cleveland is still a big question but if his outings continue as strong as the first two this season, it most likely won’t be too long.
Photo: Associated Press