CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starter Trevor Bauer has begun to show consistency on the mound, and that is a good thing for a rotation that has battled injuries and ineffectiveness throughout the first three months of the 2017 season.
Bauer allowed just one earned run over 6.1 innings of work for the Indians in a 5-3 victory over the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field Wednesday night, a win that got him over the .500 mark for the third time this season.
“He was really good, and that’s a good lineup,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I know at times, guys kind of like us, are hitting a little bit lower than maybe they would, but he really competed.
“He gave up the one home run, solo, got us to a point in the game where you can give the ball to Andrew (Miller), which is always good. He’s becoming very dependable, which is a compliment to any pitcher.”
Over 6.1 innings of work against the Rangers Wednesday, Bauer scattered four hits and one walk against three strikeouts. Bauer located the strike zone with 61 of his 103 pitches and lowered his season earned run average to 5.24.
Bauer improved to 7-6 on the season with the victory.
“Slightly slower fastballs,” Bauer said. “Apparently, I have like an off-speed pitch besides my curveball. Once all those things combine, when we had the meeting as a staff and kind of talked about each individual, what we each need to do to be successful, that was one of the decisions that was made then.”
In 15 starts this season, Bauer has allowed 89 hits, 51 earned runs and 14 home runs over 87.2 innings of work. Although Bauer has surrendered 32 walks, he has registered 96 strikeouts, including a career-high 14 in a 9-4 win over Oakland on May 30.
Bauer has struck out five or more hitters in 11 of his 15 outings, and lowered his season ERA in each of his last four starts.
And Francona is confident that if Bauer continues to trend upward, he will give the rotation a much-needed boost of productivity to go along with the tempo set by 2016 American League Cy Young Award finalist Corey Kluber.
“I’m glad because with the arm he has, when he uses his fastball to different parts of the plate, it makes him a much better pitcher,” Francona said. “He may give a different way of explaining it, but that is such an effective weapon for him.”