Inclement weather has pushed tonight’s game between the Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres back to Wednesday for a day time doubleheader starting at noon. With Corey Kluber set to start Tuesday night, Zach McAllister will be pushed back to Wednesday in one game, with Trevor Bauer possibly starting the other. Bauer is scheduled to start for the Columbus Clippers on Wednesday anyway, so it makes a lot of sense to plug him in after McAllister.
The 23-year-old coming over from the Arizona Diamondbacks last offseason made his first appearance with the Tribe much earlier than expected on Apr. 6 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Bauer struggled exceedingly in five innings allowing two hits, seven walks and three earned runs. Throughout his 105 pitch debut, the California native had little to no control in the losing effort.
Reflecting back to last year Bauer knew something wasn’t quite right. “I didn’t deserve to there,” Bauer said. “I know that,” speaking about the humbling experience. The eccentric right-hander never deviates from speaking his mind, which may have been why Arizona pawned him off to Cleveland in the first place. Understanding where he was in regards to his ability last season demonstrates his maturity and realistic approach.
In an effort to improve control and avoid injury, Bauer has been working towards revamping his delivery. “It was night and day, night and day,” said manager Terry Francona when asked about the young prospect’s transition.
Bauer went back to work this offseason focusing on getting stronger and working on his fastball command. In his first start with AAA Columbus, Bauer tossed six innings, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB and nine strikeouts. His live fastball ranged from 92-95 mph, topping at 96 mph. Earlier this spring Bauer topped the radar guns as high as 98 mph.
Heading into a potential spot start Wednesday, Indians fans should expect a second draft rather than the final product. In seven innings this spring, Bauer gave up 12 H, 8 ER, 2 HR and 5 BB. These totals draw similar comparisons to his 2013 struggles.
The opposition in the Padres ranked 17th in 2013 in weighted runs created plus with 94 and a team on-base percentage of .308 good for 22nd overall. San Diego has been offensively inept early in 2014, scoring five runs in their four losses combined.
As a student of the game it’s not surprising Bauer has a number of pitches in his repertoire. Baseball Prospectus recorded him pitching a four-seam fastball, screwball (87 mph), slider (83 mph), curveball (76 mph) and change-up (83 mph) this past Spring Training. If Bauer manages to locate his fastball early in counts come Wednesday, he will be able to let the off-speed junk loose when the count is in his favor. Anticipate a four-five inning start, possibly into the sixth if he is really dealing with a low pitch count.