It hasn’t taken long for the newest member of the LA Dodgers to capture the attention of Major League Baseball. With the league increasing its efforts to prevent pitchers from cheating, reigning Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer suddenly finds himself in the headlines for some suspiciously sticky balls that he threw during Wednesday’s outing.
And the highly-paid right-hander has a big problem with how the entire situation has unfolded.
Trevor Bauer earned his first Cy Young award last season
Trevor Bauer showed plenty of promise during his days with the Cleveland Indians. However, the California native got traded to the Cincinnati Reds in the midst of the 2019 season. Bauer proceeded to post a disappointing 2-5 record with a 6.39 ERA in 10 starts.
Then 2020 happened.
While COVID-19 resulted in a shortened season, Bauer enjoyed his finest campaign to date. Thanks to a much-improved four-seam fastball, he thoroughly dominated hitters. Bauer struck out 100 batters in just 74 innings pitched. After recording an ERA under 4.18 just once since 2012, his 1.73 ERA represented a half-run improvement over his previous personal best of 2.21.
Even though he only went 5-4 in his 11 starts, the former first-round pick captured Cy Young honors for the first time in his career. Bauer’s impressive performance even earned him enough votes to finish 10th in the National League MVP race. He leveraged his breakout year into a life-changing contract, too. On Feb. 11, the Dodgers signed Bauer to a three-year, $102 million deal.
Bauer and his ‘sticky’ balls have officially caught the attention of Major League Baseball
Trevor Bauer showed some struggles in his debut appearance for the reigning World Series champions. On Wednesday, though, he bounced back with a rock-solid effort that included 10 strikeouts and just two earned runs in 6.2 innings.
But after making just two appearances in a Dodgers uniform, Bauer has officially caught the attention of MLB officials. Given his history of speaking up against pitchers doctoring baseballs, it seems ironic that he now faces questions about that same subject.
According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, umpires collected multiple balls Bauer threw Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics and sent them to the league offices for further inspection. Major-league sources said the balls had “visible markings and were sticky.”
Rosenthal did point out that a punishment may not occur. Even if the balls do contain foreign substances, the league must prove Bauer was responsible for such alterations.
Dodgers star fires back on Twitter
Trevor Bauer just arrived in LA, but he already has a public relations issue to deal with. And for the Dodgers, it can’t feel good to see their newest star’s name get connected to suspicious baseballs.
Never afraid to voice his opinion—especially on the topic of increasing spin rate—Bauer took to Twitter to blast MLB and the media for how the story came to light.
“Lol always fun reading desperate and misleading clickbait headlines from national gossip bloggers. To translate fake journalist speak for y’all, “It’s unclear whether” = I can’t be bothered to look into this cuz it doesn’t fit my narrative,” he wrote Thursday night.
Of course, Rosenthal doesn’t fall under the category of “gossip bloggers.” The award-winning reporter works as The Athletic’s senior baseball writer. He has spent more than 25 years covering the major leagues.
Bauer didn’t stop at just one tweet, either.
“Wonder where the other articles about balls from every other pitcher being taken out of play in literally every other game this season are? Also lol to @MLB who already has “sources” talking to gossip bloggers about a supposedly confidential process a week into the season. Thumbs up y’all keep killing it!” he wrote.
All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.