CLEVELAND — On Tuesday, Trevor Bauer learned he was going to start Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees instead of Cy Young award candidate Corey Kluber.
So, naturally, Bauer wanted to watch the Yankees-Twins wild-card game on Tuesday night. He did. For two innings.
“I was really interested to watch that game,” Bauer said on Wednesday at Progressive Field. “I haven’t really been interested in watching a baseball game in a while. That one I thought was just such a unique matchup. So I watched the first two innings, I think. I was at dinner with some friends. Obviously, those first two innings took quite a while. It was very dramatic and a lot of great plays and momentum swings and stuff. After that, we decided to go see a movie.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred might not want to hear that Bauer bailed on the game after two innings (which took about an hour and a half). But after the way Bauer pitched against the Yankees and down the stretch this season, the righthander probably didn’t need any more information about his Game 1 opponent.
Bauer was 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA against the Yankees in 2017. He allowed one run in seven innings at home on Aug. 4 and one run in six innings on Aug. 30 at Yankee Stadium. Overall, he was 17-9, 4.19, but the 26-year-old went 8-1, 2.57 in August and September.
“I remember my start in New York,” Bauer said. “I was bad. I walked a bunch of guys [four]. I didn’t feel like I was very sharp. I couldn’t throw the ball where I wanted to. They hit some balls really hard. I was fortunate it went to people. I think that start could have easily gone differently from a results standpoint. I don’t remember the first start against them too well. But none of that matters for this start anyway, really. The playoffs are a different animal and any team can beat you on any day. So it’s a matter of looking at that lineup, identifying a game plan, how you’re going to attack each hitter, and then going out and trying to execute that.”
Kluber, who will start Game 2, was 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA vs. the Yankees. Francona said he lined up his starters this way so Kluber could be available to pitch Game 5 if it’s needed on normal rest.
“I think for a number of reasons, it makes good sense,” Francona said. “Not that you go into a game thinking you’re going to lose, but if you do, you have your ace coming back. The biggest thing was keeping him on his five-day. That was really important to Kluber. That was really the only way we could do it.”