Trevor Bauer turns in the worst start of the season

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Not his worst start. The worst start.

Trevor Bauer surrendered five runs and six hits while getting just two outs Friday in the first game of a doubleheader against the White Sox. He was up to 49 pitches in the first when manager Terry Francona finally had to come get him, putting the Indians in a major bind with at least 17 more innings to go today.

Oddly, Bauer opened the game immediately working from the stretch. He may have had some problems getting loose, judging from the way he was often shrugging and stretching in-between pitches. His velocity was fine, though, as he was hitting 93-94 mph with his fastball.

But if working exclusively from the stretch was an experiment, it was a disastrous one. He gave up hits to the first two batters he faced. After a sac fly, he surrendered a two-run homer to Adam Dunn and later a solo shot to Jeff Keppinger, who had just one homer in 227 at-bats this season. That made it 4-0.

Brent Morel followed Keppinger’s homer was a single. Bauer, despite working from the stretch for about 30 pitches now, paid him absolutely no attention, allowing him to steal second easily, even though he stumbled a little on the way. It was Morel’s 12th steal in 184 major league games. Gordon Beckham followed with a double to make it 5-0.

After that came a Tyler Flowers HBP, which might seem rather suspicious, except for the fact that it came with two strikes and wasn’t actually a HBP. The ball obviously hit the knob of Flowers’ bat, judging by a) the sound it made, b) the fact that it rolled at least 20 feet away and c) that Flowers didn’t so much as shake his hand afterwards, despite the pitch being a 93-mph fastball.

Bauer knew the ball hit the knob and questioned umpire Alan Porter’s terrible decision to award the HBP, but didn’t argue vehemently. Francona came out as well. He’d return a couple of minutes later after Bauer walked leadoff man Alejandro De Aza. Bauer was pulled after throwing 49 pitches to 10 batters.

It’s almost certainly the last we’ll see of Bauer in the majors for a while. The Indians might want to consider demoting him to A-ball, rather than Triple-A, in order to send him a message.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.