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Terry Francona on Trevor Bauer: “He’s a stubborn kid and he’s come a long way”

Sep 5, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

trevor bauer getty Getty Images

Trevor Bauer has had a solid season for Cleveland, posting a 4.22 ERA in 22 starts while striking out 124 batters in 130 innings as a 23-year-old, but his first-inning struggles have the Indians talking to him about making changes.

Bauer has a 5.14 ERA in the first inning and had a particularly rough opening frame Thursday, after which manager Terry Francona told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

We can’t keep getting out to deficits like that. He just worked behind in the count the first time and a half through the order. The second time and a half through the order, he worked ahead and the results were drastically different.

I just think Trevor tries to find him pitches right away in the game and sometimes it takes a while. That’s why we’ve talking to him about simplifying things early. But he’s a stubborn kid and he’s come a long way. You’re not always going to get it in one jump. Sometimes it take a a while to be a finished product.

The “he’s a stubborn kid” part played a role in the Diamondbacks trading Bauer to the Indians for pennies on the dollar, but for the most part Francona and Cleveland have to be very happy with his progress this season. He’s got nearly a strikeout per inning while limiting homers and cutting his walk rate from horrible to merely bad. And at age 23 he looks like a potential long-term building block for the Indians.

  1. Jack Glasscock's Cup - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    When asked to elaborate, Francona said, “I don’t think (he’s stubborn in) a bad way. It takes guys different length of times to understand themselves. He’s done a pretty remarkable job considering where he was last year. He just has to keep going.” Funny you should gleefully (a Swiftie!) omit that part.

  2. hoopmatch - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    If Bauer has trouble in first inning, why not have a reliever pitch first inning, then insert Bauer?

    • miguelcairo - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:13 PM

      Then the 2nd is his 1st.

      • asimonetti88 - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        No dude, it’s still the 2nd. Kind of like if they skip the 13th floor in a building. You just go straight from the 12th to 14th floor.

      • blabidibla - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        “But it goes to 11”

  3. hoopmatch - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Yes, I know it will still be Bauer’s first inning of work, but maybe the psychology will work.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      Later in his career with the Yanks, Clemens used to pitch a “first inning” in the bullpen because Torre thought it helped Clemens get his nerves in check. Apparently he’d come out and be roided uppumped up and have almost no control.

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