DETROIT — If the folks at Tribe Rewards need an idea for a promotion, providing someone to play catch with Trevor Bauer would make a great one.
During the All-Star Break, Bauer remained in Cleveland since he was starting Friday’s game against Detroit. The right-hander was hoping to get in a bullpen session this past Monday but couldn’t get into Progressive Field since it was being set up for a concert.
Looking for a place to throw, Bauer took four baseballs, went to a park in the Cleveland area and threw against a chain-link fence near a swimming pool.
"I threw them into the fence. Walked and picked ’em up. That’s what I did all of high school. I had a bucket," Bauer said. "I had a tennis instructor trying to steal my baseballs, just like in high school."
Bauer was able to get back into Progressive Field on Wednesday but had to throw out of the bullpen since the stage and seats for the Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert and Florida-Georgia Line show was set up.
In getting the start Friday, Bauer became the first Tribe pitcher since Wayne Garland in 1977 to start the game before the All-Star Game and the first one after. Bauer went six innings and gave up three runs on six hits while striking out five and walking one. When Nick Castellanos scored on an Ian Kinsler sacrifice fly in the third, it ended a string of 13 2/3 scoreless innings by Bauer.
When the Indians scored seven runs in the seventh en route to a 9-3 win, Bauer got the win, which is his first on the road in his Major League career. There have been a couple times this season, including in his recent start last Sunday, where Bauer has pitched great but the offense has been unable to score runs or make a lead stand. This time on a night when Bauer didn’t have his best, the offense helped him out.
"I’ve always battled like that. I’m usually able to find a way to navigate through things. It’s very rare it spirals out of control for me," Bauer said. "I’ll take it on a night I don’t feel good. Go six innings and three runs and the team comes up huge in the seventh like that, it’s good."
Bauer, who improves to 4-4 with a 3.89 ERA, has gone at least six innings in 10 of his 13 starts this season. He also has not allowed a home run in 25 1/3 innings.
Said manager Terry Francona of Bauer’s night: "I don’t think he had his best breaking ball. He got to two strikes plenty but didn’t have something to put them away. He still competes and that kept us in the game."