The Dodgers beat the Cardinals 9-4 on Monday night, powered by a huge night from Chris Taylor who went 3-4 with a home run, an epic double, and 4 runs batted in.
While Taylor was the story of the evening, Trevor Bauer — a walking storyline in his own right — also played a key role in the game. Sure, he started the game, his 12th with the Dodgers. And sure, he won the game, his 6th of year. But he also continued a weird stretch of allowing home runs.
Overall, the outing was everything a team could ask for (even more so when you consider that he nearly didn’t make the start while dealing with an undisclosed illness that included flu-like symptoms). He pitched into the 7th inning and kept his team in the game the whole way.
But he also served up 3 home runs, bringing his season total up to 13 dingers allowed, second most in baseball. On the year, he’s allowed only 40 base hits, so that home run rate stands out even more.
After the game, Bauer was asked about giving up all those home runs and whether there was a silver lining to the fact that most of the damage he’s allowed this year has come on the long ball and not getting hit around.
Some ways you look at it, I can’t continue giving up 40% of the hits being homers. That can’t hold. But, if you look at my home run per fly ball rate, it’s kind of average. …I don’t know… it’s frustrating though.
Bauer struggled with home runs in April, allowing 7 in his first 6 starts. But he had a stretch of success for three starts in May, keeping the ball in the yard against the Angels, Brewers, and Giants before devolving again in Houston and last night against the Cards.
We’re gonna look at some distributions of pitches and pitch types and locations and try to figure out if there’s something I need to adjust, but it’s very odd because I don’t give up a lot of hits. It’s not like I’m getting hit around and the ball’s leaving the yard. … Hopefully, it regresses back the mean a little bit. We’ll dig in and figure it out.
In his Cy Young season, Bauer served up only 9 home runs in his 11 starts over the 60 game season, but for the greater part, he’s struggled with the long ball.
In 34 starts in 2019, the right-hander served up a career-high 34 homers while dealing with an ankle issue for most of the season. From 2014-2017, he allowed 84 over 124 games, averaging 1.1 per nine innings. But in 2018, his best full season as a big leaguer, Bauer allowed only 9 over 28 games.
With all the tech and stats and numbers and analytics, Trevor and the Dodgers will find something sooner or later.