Trevor Bauer to the Bullpen
The Cleveland Indians have announced that starting pitcher Trevor Bauer will be joining the bullpen now that Corey Kluber is healthy and rejoining the rotation. Bauer, who got off to such a great start, has struggled lately and the Indians decided they couldn’t be patient any longer with him.
In the first half of the season Bauer was 8-5 with a 3.76 ERA, 1.22 WHP and 3.97 FIP. However, since the All-Star break Bauer has gone 3-7 with a 6.32 ERA, 1.55 WHIP and 5.14 FIP. He’s been striking out about the same percentage of hitters but his walk rate is up 2% and his home run has gone way up (1.03 HR/9 to 1.58 HR/9). With the Indians only four games out of the playoffs (and just three out in the loss column), they simply decided the best five starters are Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin, and rookie Cody Anderson.
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Since coming back from his shoulder injury Josh Tomlin has been outstanding for the Indians. On the year now Tomlin is 5-2 with a 2.70 ERA and insanely low 0.680 WHIP. While his 4.49 FIP isn’t too special, he does have a 3.48 xFIP and unbelievable a 14.7 K/BB ratio. He’s going to give up home runs, but by not issuing many free passes (averaging half a walk per nine innings) he’s limited the damage and kept the Indians in ballgames.
Cody Anderson has been arguably better than Tomlin in his brief big league career. In 12 starts, Anderson is 4-3 with a 3.68 ERA, 1.056 WHIP and 4.20 FIP. Anderson did have a brief hiccup after his initial success but has been much better since returning from the disabled list on August 26th. In those four starts Anderson is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 0.913 WHIP. He’s holding hitters to a .184 batting average and hasn’t given up more than two runs in any of the four starts.
This won’t be the end of Trevor Bauer as a starting pitcher but given the playoff push the Indians are making they simply had to go with the hot hands. I would not be surprised if Bauer still got another start (or two) this season as the Indians will likely closely monitor Anderson and could turn to Bauer if he or Tomlin struggle.