Bauer Surge

Indians pitcher, Trevor Bauer is having a career year in 2017. A look at his season, especially the second half.

Last year the Indians went on a run that had all of the Cleveland faithful seeing images of champagne bottles popping, parades downtown, banners being hoisted and rings being passed out. The Tribe came within one win of making those dreams a reality. In the World Series, Trevor Bauer was coming off of an injury. An accident that occurred while working on his drone during the ALCS which cut his finger and required 10 stitches. Bauer struggled in games 2 and 5 of the World Series, and many fans believed the injured finger had a lot to do with it, and it probably did. This is the kind of thing Indians fans almost expect when it comes to Bauer. A little bit flighty at times, emotional to a fault, and terribly inconsistent.

In 2016, Bauer went 12-8 (.600) with an ERA of 4.26 in 35 games (28 starts). During the season, he struck out 168 batters and walked 70. That was the best win percentage, and second best ERA of his career. Bauer seemed to be figuring things out, and after a good season, Indians fans were expecting a big season from Bauer in 2017 to follow up. At least I was.

This year started off a bit rocky. Through mid July, he had a 7-8 record, and looked very inconsistent at times. In three starts, he went just four innings or less, but then Bauer clicked. Since July 16 in fact, he has not taken a loss. He is 8-0 in that stretch, including an appearance out of the bullpen. He has been ace-like at times, and has helped bolster an amazing pitching staff. Prior to this 8-0 run, Bauer had a bloated ERA of 5.59, and has now seen it drop to 4.39. Trevor had recorded three wins during the Indians’ current 12 game win streak, including starting the streak with a win over Red Sox ace, Chris Sale. Also, since July 21, he has recorded 65 strikeouts while walking 19.

So what does this all mean going forward? Unfortunately, not much. The playoffs are a different animal altogether. David Price, for example is 0-9 in playoff starts. Clayton Kershaw is a mediocre 7-7 in his postseason starts. Basically what I’m trying to say is that success in the regular season does not always translate to being successful in the bright lights of October baseball.

Bauer will still make a few more starts this year before heading into the postseason, and will hopefully remain as dominant. But a lot of Tribe fans remain guardedly optimistic. A lot of fans seem to be waiting for him to slip up and return to the inconsistent pitcher that he had been in the past. I however feel that he’s turned the corner, and think he’s become the pitcher we all expected him to be when the Indians acquired him from Arizona. A pitcher with great stuff, that was raw, stubborn and erratic, but with fine tuning and great coaching, would be just like the pitcher we’ve seen since mid July.

The fact is this, the Indians need him. The Indians will potentially face very good pitching in the playoffs, and the Tribe will need Bauer to be a dominant force come October. He will most likely be the third starter in a playoff shortened rotation, and will be making very important starts opposite very good number 3 starters from other teams. If he can keep it up, the Indians should make a very deep run through October.

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