Trevor Bauer is back up with the Indians to start Game 1 of today’s doubleheader, but as usual with Bauer it may only be a short stay in the majors.
Acquired this offseason in the three-team blockbuster trade with the Diamondbacks and Reds, the former No. 3 overall pick will be making his eighth career start in the majors. This year at Triple-A he’s racked up 67 strikeouts in 65 innings, but Bauer has also walked 5.0 batters per nine innings, served up nine homers, and posted a 4.13 ERA that’s right around the International League average of 4.18. In other words, he hasn’t been very impressive.
Bauer is still just 22 years old and his electric raw stuff remains, but he’s made zero progress with his awful control. In addition to all the free passes at Triple-A he’s also walked 28 batters in 32.2 innings as a big leaguer, although today at least the one thing in Bauer’s favor is that the White Sox have drawn the fewest walks in the American League.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.