Right-hander Trevor Bauer blew opponents away with superior stuff in his half-season in the minor leagues this year despite walking a batter every other inning.
Bauer has not been able to get away with less than top command in his four starts in the major leagues, a point Cincinnati drove home behind right-hander Johnny Cueto in a 4-0 victory over the D-backs on Tuesday. Bauer walked five, threw two wild pitches and made an errant pickoff throw in three innings, when all four Reds’ runs scored.
Cincinnati had only one hit off Bauer, Ryan Ludwick’s three-run home run with two outs in the third inning, after Bauer issued two two-out walks, committed his error and threw a high fastball to the screen.
“I just couldn’t throw the ball where I wanted to. I’ll fix it. I’ll be fine,” Bauer told reporters.
Bauer, the first 2011 draftee to appear in the majors, is 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Class AAA Reno to replace Daniel Hudson in the starting rotation June 29. Hudson underwent Tommy John surgery 10 days ago and is out until mid-2013.
The Reds scored on two walks, a double steal and a wild pitch in a 20-pitch first inning and forced Bauer to throw 41 pitches in the third inning. Zack Cozart and Brandon Phillips walked on 3-2 pitches before Ludwick homered a pitch after being knocked down with a fastball high and inside. Scott Rolen then drew a 12-pitch walk before Bauer got out of the inning with one of his four strikeouts.
“It didn’t start good for him,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
Bauer gave up two hits and one walk in six shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 8, the last game before the All-Star break, but he has had trouble throwing strikes in his other three outings. He has given up 14 hits and 13 walks in 16 1/3 innings, striking out 17.
He was 11-1 in 14 minor league starts split between Class AA Mobile and Class AAA Reno this season, with 116 strikeouts in 93 innings. He also walked 48.
–LF Jason Kubel (hamstring) missed his fourth straight start Tuesday although manager Gibson said Kubel appears to be nearing a return. “He wanted to play. I don’t think it’s smart to push him. I see him moving better. I don’t want to put him in a game, where he snaps it and is out for a long time,” Gibson said. Kubel was removed from Friday’s game in Chicago because of a tight right hamstring and has appeared only once since, as a pinch-hitter Saturday.
–LHP Wade Miley tied the franchise season record for victories by a rookie when he won his 10th game at Cincinnati on Monday. RHP Brandon Webb and RHP Oscar Villarreal won 10 games in 2003, and RHP Josh Collmenter won 10 in 2011. Only Webb and Miley won all their games as starters. Collmenter won one game out of the bullpen last season, and Villarreal won all his games in relief.
–SS Stephen Drew started his fifth straight game Tuesday, a first since coming off the disabled list June 27. He is 5 for 19 in that stretch while batting first, fourth, sixth and eighth as manager Kirk Gibson plays the matchup game. “He feels good. I’ve been happy with the way he’s recovered from day to day. Stephen is hungry. He understands the sooner he gets into the everyday grind, all of the rust comes off,” Gibson said. Dtew started seven of the first 12 games after being activated.
–2B Aaron Hill hit third for the second consecutive game Tuesday, and RF Justin Upton again batted fifth. Upton had three singles, a walk and a stolen base in his first game at that spot in the order Monday. Gibson said he dropped Upton from No. 3 to alleviate some of the pressure Upton puts on himself. Upton had two more singles Tuesday.
–Collmenter, who was returned to the bullpen when RHP Trevor Bauer secured the fifth start in the rotation coming out of the All-Star break, gave up two hits and a walk in three scoreless innings behind Bauer on Tuesday. Collmenter, who made two quality starts in the final week of the first half, is 0-0 with a 1.05 ERA in 11 relief appearances, almost all as a long man. He is 1-2 with a 6.03 ERA in seven starts.
BY THE NUMBERS: 41 — Pitches by RHP Trevor Bauer in Cincinnati’s three-run third inning.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s pretty obvious. I couldn’t throw a strike when I wanted to. You put five guys on base (with walks) and you are going to get beat.” — RHP Trevor Bauer, who gave up one hit and five walks in three innings of a 4-0 loss at Cincinnati.