Bauer signed a three-year, $102 million deal with the aim of supplementing Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler in the rotation.
Bauer started off the season white-hot, and the fact he is sporting a 2.63 ERA while facing more batters than anyone else in the National League goes to show that he has made good on that price tag to this point.
However, Bauer has started to show some worrying signs of late.
Over his last three starts, Bauer has put up an unsightly 4.74, with even the lowry Rangers getting some good licks in against him. In an ultra-competitive division, the Dodgers can’t afford too many of these slip-ups.
Bauer has started to see his production ebb away, and his declining spin rates have only increased the attention on his poorer play. Is this just a standard rough patch that all pitchers go through? Or is it a sign that Bauer is starting to regress?
Dodgers: Trevor Bauer has been struggling lately.
The league is trying everything they can to make sure that foreign substances on the mound are eliminated. Coincidently, after the story broke, Bauer has started to take a step back. For a pitcher who relies on the movement of his pitches, his league-best fastball spin rate and near-best curveball spin rate taking a tumble could be a disaster.
While Bauer was an average pitcher prior to his All-Star year in Cleveland and his Cy Young season in Cincinnati, he has a 3.09 ERA and 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings since the start of the 2018 season. He probably won’t hover around an ERA like that for too long, which should give Dave Roberts some comfort.
The Dodgers are uniquely qualified to handle such a slump from one of the best in the game, as even after the Dustin May injury, the likes of Kershaw, Buehler, and Julio Urias should be enough to help keep LA winning while Baurer tries to work out why his production has slightly turned downhill.
Ultimately, Bauer’s recent history suggests that a 4.74 ERA pitcher is just not what he is, and he should be able to turn this around somewhat expediently. However, if this run continues for the next few starts, LA might need to make him switch some things up in order for him to regain his mojo.