Bauer was on the bump this afternoon for LA’s finale of their three-game set against the Oakland Athletics.
Just like his outing against the Rockies, he was extremely sharp in the early going.
He might’ve been too sharp though.
According to Athletics broadcaster Vince Cotroneo, one of the balls Bauer used in the first inning was taken in for a likely “inspection.”
This could be Major League Baseball’s new policy in action. It was reported that there would be a crackdown on the substances pitchers use on the baseball to increase their spin rate. Bauer, who famously called out the Astros for their practices on that front, turned around and increased his own spin rate the following year, leading all of MLB in that category on his fastball in 2020.
That helped him win the NL Cy Young award.
Look, every pitcher likely uses something to improve their grip. Heck, many of the game’s top hitters have supported pitchers using substances to do just that because it helps with accuracy.
Or maybe commissioner Rob Manfred wants to make an example out of Bauer for other reasons. The outspoken pitcher blasted the league for sending him a “warning” for having his “logo” visible while wearing his uniform during spring training. Then, after his former teammate Nick Castellanos was suspended for a whole lot of nothing other than talking trash, Bauer once again sounded off and let his thoughts be known.
Don’t let MLB’s decision to remove the All-Star Game from Atlanta fool you. Though that was a step in the right direction, this league is still incredibly out-dated and beyond conservative.
Maybe home plate umpire Dan Bellino needs to be “inspected”! He completely got fooled by that Will Smith frame-job on Bauer’s nasty knuckle curve and it cost the A’s an out.
Regardless, you’d be a fool to be surprised by this development. Bauer is an easy target for MLB because he’s one of the most recognized players in the sport who hardly shies away from speaking his mind on any topic. Let’s just hope his discourse on spin rate doesn’t put him in the dog house.