What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday evening’s action

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About half the schedule has already been exhausted this Wednesday afternoon, but there’s plenty of action left in the evening.

Of interest, Trevor Bauer starts tonight for the surging Indians, who will attempt to polish off a series sweep of the Rays and extend their winning streak to six games in tonight’s 7:10 PM EDT start. The Indians enter Wednesday’s action 40-30, two games ahead of the Royals in first place.

Bauer in particular has been terrific for the Indians not just lately, but also since moving back into the starting rotation at the end of April. Carlos Carrasco injured his hamstring, which opened up the spot for Bauer. In 10 starts, the right-hander has a 3.23 ERA with a 55/21 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. In four June starts, he’s lasted at least seven innings each time and overall has a 2.12 ERA with a 28/8 K/BB ratio in 29 2/3 innings.

Control has always plagued Bauer, as he has averaged four walks per nine innings over his career, spanning parts of five seasons. His 10.4 percent walk rate is third-highest among pitchers who have accrued at least 400 innings since 2012. Only Ubaldo Jimenez and Francisco Liriano, both at 10.9 percent, have walked a higher percentage of batters. But this season it’s only 8.2 percent. His ground ball rate, currently 46.8 percent, is higher than it’s ever been. Bauer’s 3.52 FIP is right around his overall 3.46 ERA and would be by far a career-best if the season were to end today, as would his 3.52 xFIP. This indicates that Bauer’s newfound success is likely not due to a bout of favorable randomness in a 10-start sample. He’ll put that to the test tonight.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

San Diego Padres (Erik Johnson) @ Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez), 7:05 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Jeff Samardzija) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Francisco Liriano), 7:05 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana) @ Boston Red Sox (Eduardo Rodriguez), 7:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma) @ Detroit Tigers (Michael Fulmer), 7:10 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Adam Morgan) @ Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson), 8:10 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Joe Ross) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Julio Urias), 10:10 PM EDT

Jones, Maddux, Morris consider Bonds, Clemens for Hall


COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Hall of Famers Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris and Ryne Sandberg are among 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee that will meet to consider the Cooperstown fate of an eight-man ballot that includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro.

Hall of Famers Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also are on the panel, which will meet in San Diego ahead of the winter meetings.

They will be joined by former Toronto CEO Paul Beeston, former Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs executive Theo Epstein, Anaheim Angels owner Arte Moreno, Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng, Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter and Chicago White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams.

Three media members/historians are on the committee: longtime statistical analyst Steve Hirdt of Stats Perform, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Neal and Slusser are past presidents of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Hall Chairman Jane Forbes Clark will be the committee’s non-voting chair.

The ballot also includes Albert Belle, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy and Curt Schilling. The committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A candidate needs 75% to be elected and anyone who does will be inducted on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the BBWAA vote, announced on Jan. 24.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their 10th and final appearances on the BBWAA ballot. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program, just over two weeks after getting his 3,000th hit.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) in 2021. Support dropped after hateful remarks he made in retirement toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the BBWAA ballot in 2019. Murphy was on the BBWAA ballot 15 times and received a high of 116 votes (23.2%) in 2000. Mattingly received a high of 145 votes (28.2%) in the first of 15 appearances on the BBWAA ballot in 2001, and Belle appeared on two BBWAA ballots, receiving 40 votes (7.7%) in 2006 and 19 (3.5%) in 2007.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.

This year’s BBWAA ballot includes Carlos Beltran, John Lackey and Jered Weaver among 14 newcomers and Scott Rolen, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner among holdovers.