OAKLAND, Calif. — Cleveland Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer had allowed three runs through the first four innings of his start on May 30 against Oakland and, to say the least, he wasn’t happy.
“I got really frustrated and (angry),” Bauer recalled Saturday. “So I tried to throw everything as hard as I possibly could and it worked out well.”
Bauer finished with a career-high 14 strikeouts and just one walk in a 9-4 victory at Progressive Field. He allowed seven hits and three runs in seven innings, blanking the A’s in his final three innings.
Bauer will face the A’s again Sunday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum in the finale of their three-game series in a matchup against left-hander Sean Manaea. This time, Bauer will try to pitch angry from the outset.
“That’s what I’ve tried to do since then,” Bauer said. “It obviously doesn’t always work out exactly like that. I’m trying to be aggressive with what I’m throwing and the intent behind it, be aggressive in the zone and hopefully give up less runs this time.”
Bauer went 12-8 with a 4.26 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 190 innings last season. This year, he’s 7-7 with a 5.24 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 92 2/3 innings.
“I have a lot of mixed feelings about it,” Bauer said of his season to date. “I feel like I’m a much better pitcher than I was last year, and the results say otherwise. So it’s been really frustrating at times. It’s been really fun at times. But still half a season left.”
Cleveland manager Terry Francona said Bauer’s “stuff” has been consistently good throughout the season and his command has become sharper after a slow start.
“I think he has held his stuff from start to right now better than he has since I’ve seen him,” Francona said. “Early on, I don’t think he was commanding as good as he needed to. I think it is much better and his numbers reflect that. If you look back at his last eight to 10 starts, they’re much more in line with the pitcher he is.”
In Bauer’s last eight starts, beginning with his victory against Oakland, he’s 3-3 with a 4.01 ERA, 44 strikeouts and 16 walks in 42 2/3 innings.
The Indians have lost back-to-back games to Oakland, 5-0 in the series opener on Friday night and 5-3 on Saturday night when Khris Davis hit a two-run, walk-off homer against reliever Bryan Shaw.
Indians ace Corey Kluber struck out 12 and walked none in 7 1/3 innings but gave up solo home runs to A’s rookie third baseman Matt Chapman in the third and eighth innings — Chapman’s first career homers.
Oakland, which lost three of four to Cleveland at Progressive Field earlier this season, will go for the series sweep on Sunday.
Manaea is 7-5 with a 3.76 ERA overall, and he has been on a roll in his past 10 starts. After going 1-3 with a 5.52 ERA in his first six starts, Manaea is 6-2 with a 2.95 ERA in his past 10. He has 59 strikeouts and 17 walks in 64 innings during that stretch.
Manaea pitched a gem on May 31 against Cleveland at Progressive Field. He allowed one run and three hits, struck out nine and walked one in a 3-1 victory.
“These guys are really, really good hitters and overall top to bottom they’re just a really good team,” Manaea said. “You always got to be in that attack mode. You got to make things happen instead of waiting for them to do something. I’ll just try to do that on Sunday.”
Manaea is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two career starts against Cleveland. He has 17 strikeouts and three walks in 14 innings.
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