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