Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer doesn’t know why he’s giving up so many home runs ... yet
It’s the one blemish on an otherwise brilliant two-month start to the season for Trevor Bauer, the 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner who signed a three-year, $102-million deal with the Dodgers in February.
The 30-year-old right-hander gave up three earned runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings of the Dodgers’ 9-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday to improve to 6-3 with a 2.24 ERA in 12 starts. He has yielded only 40 hits while striking out 96 — the most in the NL — and walking 23 across 76 1/3 innings.
But 13 of those hits (roughly 33%) have been home runs, including solo shots to Justin Williams and Tyler O’Neill and a two-run shot to Dylan Carlson on Monday night. Of the 22 runs Bauer has given up this season, 17 have scored on home runs.
“It’s just frustrating,” Bauer said. “Forty percent of the hits I give up are homers. I haven’t given up a run on a non-homer in over a month. Good pitches, bad pitches, it just seems my luck on homers is terrible right now.
His mind filled with self-doubt, Max Muncy strongly considered retirement in 2017. Now the Dodgers’ first baseman is among the game’s top hitters.
“It’s frustrating when you have a chance to get out of jams and I can’t just give up a hit, a double or something. It has to be a homer.”
Bauer said he will do a deep dive into advanced statistics and video to search for reasons for the high percentage of long balls.
“I can’t continue to give up 40% of my hits for homers, that can’t hold,” Bauer said. “But my home-run-to-fly-ball rate is kind of average. I’m gonna look at some distributions of pitches and pitch types and locations and try to figure out if there’s something I can adjust.
“It’s very odd because I don’t give up many hits, and all of a sudden, when I do, it’s a home run. Hopefully it regresses back to the mean, but we’ll dig in and see if we can figure it out. My gut reaction is it’s not anything necessarily that I’m doing. It’s not one specific pitch. It’s righties and lefties. There aren’t any patterns.”
The Dodgers say Mookie Betts’ slump isn’t tied to potential injury issues, but the normally standout outfielder has performed in a strangely pedestrian manner.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he doesn’t know why Bauer has given up such a high percentage of homers, but he is not concerned.
“Walker [Buehler] was going through that a month ago,” Roberts said. “It’s just cyclical. I think it will correct itself.”
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