Bauer, Raburn lead Indians to fourth win in a row
MAY 01, 2013 11:50p ET
With Ryan Raburn continuing his torrid hitting and with as many infield hits as they had home runs the previous night (seven), the Indians swept a two-game series with Philadelphia, beating the Phillies 6-0.
Indians pitchers gave up three hits in the shutout, with young Trevor Bauer earning his first win as an Indian.
Bauer was called up for this start and probably will head back to Columbus, but he showed grit and competitiveness in his five innings.
He struggled with control, walking six (he walked his first four in his other start this season). But when he needed to make a pitch, he did.
“When he got into some traffic out there, he made some unbelievable pitches,” manager Terry Francona said. “He threw his fastball. He threw offspeed. He attacked hitters when he had to with really good stuff.”
Bauer got the last out of the first four innings on strikeouts. In the third he struck out Michael Young looking with a runner on third. In the fourth he got Carlos Ruiz swinging with a runner on third. And in the fifth he did not allow a run after walking two. He left with a 5-0 lead.
“For whatever reason I lock in more when there’s guys on base,” Bauer said. “I’m a really competitive guy and I don’t like giving up runs.”
Francona noticed Bauer’s competitiveness. He’s not a big guy, but he throws a fastball in the mid-90s, and that makes an excellent changeup that much more effective. Mix in a slider — the pitch he said was working best — and a curveball and Bauer has a lot of pitches to draw from.
“It was kind of interesting,” Bauer said. “Everything was working at points, but not everything all at the same time.”
When he needed an out, a pitch, he found one. The negatives, clearly, are the walks. In two starts this season he’s pitched 10 innings and walked 13. Francona said throwing his fastball with better command is his key, but the manager added he gets “very” excited about Bauer’s potential.
“We’re looking to get excited,” Francona said, “but that’s real stuff.”
It would seem that when Bauer does get better command of his fastball that he’ll be back in Cleveland. If the Indians' starting rotation leaks again (as it well may), Bauer presents an option. He says he can throw as many as nine variations of pitches; he clearly has ability and the attitude.
“The team won,” Bauer said. “Ultimately that’s the biggest thing for a starting pitcher, to go out there and give the team a chance to win. That’s really encouraging, I hope, for the team.
“Personally, I look at it as a learning experience and try to get better. I know I walked six people. I've got to improve on that. There’s a lot of positives in there too.”
Bauer was helped by Raburn’s continued hot hitting. Raburn went 4-for-5 with two RBI. He has three hits and two RBI in three games in a row, matching the longest streak by an Indians player going back to 1930. In his last 14 at-bats, he has 12 hits, including four home runs and seven RBI.
The Indians also continued a quirky streak of beating Cy Young winners when they gave old friend Cliff Lee the loss. This season, they’ve faced five — David Price, R.A. Dickey, Jake Peavy, Roy Halladay and Lee, and beat four of them.
“I don’t think what hardware they have in the past goes into our approach,” Francona said. “We respect who we’re facing. We’re just trying to be better than them. There’s certain pitchers where if they make a mistake you know you better hit it.”
There was a lot to like about the win, not the least of which was that it put the Indians within a game of .500 and gave them their fourth win in a row as the team continued to show signs of coming together.
Bauer provided the best tidbit of potential.
He’s 22. He can’t walk as many as he has been. But only one of the 13 hitters he’s walked has scored, and in two starts opposing hitters for some pretty good teams (Tampa and Philadelphia) are 3-for-31 with seven strikeouts against him. Too, the major league walks could be a matter of excitement; in 18 innings at Columbus this season, he has 24 strikeouts and six walks.
When a guy has those pitches and results, optimism is justified.