CLEVELAND — Manager Terry Francona doesn’t want to change Trevor Bauer. He’d just like to see his All-Star pitcher alter his approach a bit.
According to Francona, Bauer’s ability and desire to strike out hitters may be leading to negative results from the right-hander. Over his last four starts, Bauer has allowed 18 earned runs on 21 hits, while walking 12 over
24 innings and lasting only five innings in two of the outings.
“Well, sometimes our goals don’t align,” Francona said. “I mean, he had an
eight-pitch first inning (Thursday). To me, that’s wonderful. One, it means you’re getting early contact and probably staying off the barrel ’cause it was an eight-pitch inning. It gives you room to have a 28-30-pitch inning and it doesn’t take you out of the game too early. I mean, just some quicker outs.
“Trevor wants to strike you out. I get that. It’s hard to complain when a guy has 10 or 12 in a game. I just don’t want it to take him out of the game (early). The longer he can stay out there, the better.”
Francona knows it will be difficult for Bauer to change his mindset and doesn’t necessarily believe he needs to.
“I think that’s his mentality … I think it always has been, and I don’t know that you can change that,” he said. “So rather than bump heads, you just try to maybe drop suggestions from time to time. This isn’t a philosophical difference. He just hasn’t commanded the way he needs to. When he commands, he’s fine. He gets us deep into games, and he gets the strikeouts.”
Deep counts have driven up Bauer’s pitch total as of late, leading to poor results and early exits.
“I gotta be ahead of the count, putting guys on the defensive instead of behind and working my way back in, letting guys feel comfortable in the box,” Bauer said after matching a career- and season-high with seven earned runs Thursday. “That starts with throwing quality pitches on 0-0 counts and working ahead. I’ve just gotta be better at that.”
Catcher Roberto Perez told 92.3-FM on Friday that he didn’t know what the issue was with Bauer, but that he was confident the pitcher would find his form, adding that he needed to start using his breaking ball more.
Bauer (4-2, 3.76 ERA) has posted a 2.40 ERA over six starts on the road, as opposed to a 6.17 ERA in four outings at home.
Perez was out of the lineup after taking a foul tip off his knee Thursday night. He remained in the game, but was a safe bet to sit Friday.
“I told him at the end of (Thursday) night, ‘Hey, you’re not going to catch (Friday), so no coming in. You can ice it and make them work on it.’ Because he was pretty sore,” Francona said. “Actually, he got hit pretty hard. When your knees flex like that, there’s not a lot of give. I know there’s a pad there, but he was hurting.”
Perez has emerged from a season-long slump, batting .324 (12-for-37) with three homers and seven RBIs over his last 14 games.
Dennis Martinez and Charles Nagy were in attendance as Indians alumni ambassadors.
Francona was asked what he remembered about Martinez, a four-time All-Star who pitched for the Indians from 1994-96.
“Just the charisma of ‘El Presidente,’ just the breaking ball, the delivery, the distinct delivery,” Francona said. “To me, that’s part of the fun of baseball that maybe some of the other sports don’t have.”
While playing for the Reds in 1987, Francona said he hit a homer off Martinez, who was pitching for the Expos.
“I think it was the day before the All-Star break. I might be wrong. I think it was the series before,” Francona said. “I hit three home runs that year. I hit like .230. I had three good games all year and that was one of them.”
- Shortstop Francisco Lindor entered Friday with two or more hits in four of his last five games. Lindor had hit safely in nine of his last 10 games through Thursday, batting .357 (15-for-42) with two doubles, a homer, five RBIs, five runs and three stolen bases.
- Second baseman Jason Kipnis entered Friday having reached safely in 11 straight games, batting .267 (12-for-45) with two homers, five walks, six doubles, eight RBIs and an .873 OPS over the stretch.