Are Bauer’s struggles a deepening concern?
Cleveland Indians‘ fans have come to love Trevor Bauer. He’s a little bit “different”, but that has what has made him so unique. From his odd pregame routines to building a homemade drone to fly around at Spring Training–there’s always something interesting. A very bright mind, Bauer goes outside the realm of simply just pitching. Intense video room study, deeply analytical–he’s a student of the game, but right now he may need some tutoring as the grades are down.
Bauer’s last two outing have gotten progressively worse, but the struggles have been existent since mid-June. After a solid seven-inning shutout performance against the White Sox on June 16, results have been mixed. He’s still compiled four quality starts in his last 11, but when they’ve been bad–they’ve been very bad.
In those last 11 starts, he’s exited before the fifth inning four times. When you look at his 2014 numbers in comparison, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two. The main difference has been his HR/FB (home run to fly ball ratio) which is up from 8.7% to 13.9% this season. His BAbip is actually lower than last year as well (.274 from .312 last season). Courtesy of FanGraphs
So what’s going on with Bauer?
Clearly, Bauer isn’t sure either when it comes to the sudden influx of long balls. And he’s tired of being asked about it as well. As much fun as Bauer can be when things are good, he seems to get a bit edgy when they aren’t. The Indians have been playing better ball as of late, but Bauer seems to be in the middle of the bad.
Bauer’s repertoire is extensive, but it seems this year he’s turned to the fastball more often–especially when down in the count. Andrew Kinsman of Let’s Go Tribe tried to analyze Bauer’s recent pitch selection to see how it may play a role in his recent struggles.
While there’s no clear-cut answer, there are more and more questions surrounding Bauer. Is this just a bad stretch, or is this something the Indians need to keep an eye on? In being such a cerebral guy–with less than overpowering stuff–if he doesn’t know what the issue is that’s a concern.
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Bauer’s past issues with walks now combined with more home runs allowed are troubling, but not something that he can’t overcome. Bauer knows he needs to walk fewer batters, but the high walk totals hadn’t hurt as much until now.
His job isn’t in danger–at least for now. But there is work to be done over the remainder of this season for Bauer to keep his place in the rotation. After Danny Salazar struggled and missed the Opening day roster, he returned and has become very reliable in the Tribe rotation. Bauer could be facing a similar challenge if things don’t improve.