by Matt Wilkes

Trevor Bauer blanks Tigers, leads Reds to doubleheader sweep

Behind a seven-inning, complete-game shutout from Trevor Bauer, the Reds (4-5) completed the sweep of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Tigers with a 4-0 win.

Compared to his last start, Bauer wasn’t as dominant in terms of blowing hitters away (seven strikeouts, 12 swings and misses), but the Tigers still didn’t have any answers for him. Bauer allowed only two hits and two walks on his 111 pitches, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. The right-hander induced weak contact all day, earning five pop-outs and four groundouts as he allowed an average exit velocity of just 85.0 mph (league average in 2019 was 88.0 mph).

Per usual, Bauer lived at the top of the zone with his fastball, setting up batters for his slider, curveball, and cutter — all of which got better and better as the game went on.

The heatmap exemplifies the ideal game plan for Bauer. Get hitters to swing under or pop up his high-spin fastballs up in the zone? Check. Throw sharp breaking pitches away from righties? Check. Toss in a few backdoor breaking balls to lefties? Check. This was the Bauer the Reds traded for a year ago.

Bauer also had pinpoint command today, especially with his fastball. This got him into some trouble last year with home runs, but he’s been on top of his game through two starts in 2020. He consistently painted the corners with his fastball today to hitters on both sides of the plate.

Which resulted in swings like this:

On the offensive side of things, the Reds again wasted little time getting on the board, similar to the first game of the doubleheader.

With two outs in the first inning, Eugenio Suarez scorched a 110.5 mph double, the hardest-hit ball by any Cincinnati hitter this season. Cleanup hitter Matt Davidson then battled through a 10-pitch at-bat and hit a broken-bat, bloop single to score Suarez. The Reds tacked on another run in the second when Christian Colon — in the lineup because Mike Moustakas was hit by a pitch in the forearm in the first game of the doubleheader — lined a double to left field, stole third, and scored on a blooper by Aristides Aquino.

Until the seventh inning, the Reds offense couldn’t catch many breaks despite continuing to get on base. For instance, with runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings, the Reds recorded outs that had hit probabilities of 84% (Nick Senzel lineout) and 72% (Eugenio Suarez lineout).

But things finally broke Cincinnati’s way again in the seventh and final frame. Curt Casali was hit by a pitch and Nick Senzel doubled before Colon drove them both home on a single up the middle, giving the Reds valuable insurance runs.

Although they didn’t put a huge number on the scoreboard, the Reds consistently hit the ball with authority like they haven’t so far this year. The offense tallied 13 hard-hit balls (95+ mph exit velocity), setting a season high in only seven innings. Senzel accounted for three of those hard hits, going 2-for-4 with two doubles. Nick Castellanos, Suarez, Davidson, and Colon all had multiple hard hits as well.

Hopefully, that’s a sign of things to come.

Most Valuable Players

  • Trevor Bauer: .491 Win Probability Added (WPA)
  • Aristides Aquino: .070 WPA
  • Kyle Farmer: .061 WPA

Play of the Game

  • Matt Davidson: .098 WPA | RBI single in 1st inning

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Eugenio Suarez: 110.5 mph | Double in 1st inning
  • Eugenio Suarez: 110.2 mph | Lineout in 6th inning
  • Nick Senzel: 106.7 mph | Double in 3rd inning
  • Matt Davidson: 103.5 mph | Groundout in 7th inning
  • Christian Colon: 103.3 mph | Double in 2nd inning

Highest Velocities By Pitcher

  • Trevor Bauer: 96.5 mph

Luckiest Hit of the Day

  • Aristides Aquino: 12% hit probability | RBI single in 1st inning

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Nick Senzel: 84% hit probability | Lineout in 5th inning

What’s Next?

The Reds will return home on Monday to begin the Ohio Cup against the Indians at 6:40 p.m. EST. Here’s the pitching matchup:

Due to the postponement on Saturday, the Reds shuffled their rotation to keep Sonny Gray on his normal schedule. The right-hander has been uttely dominant in his first two starts of the year, boasting a 0.71 ERA (1.14 xFIP) and 44.4% strikeout rate. Zach Plesac is coming off an impressive start in his own right. The second-year pitcher tossed eight shutout innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks in his season debut against the White Sox.

Of note, Terry Francona will not manage Monday or Tuesday’s game for Cleveland as he deals with a “gastrointestenal issue” that is unrelated to COVID-19. Former Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. will manage the first two games of the series.

Matt Wilkes got hooked on Reds baseball after attending his first game in Cinergy Field at 6 years old, and he hasn’t looked back. As a kid, he was often found imitating his favorite players — Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns — in the backyard. When he finally went inside, he was leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 or keeping stats for whatever game was on TV. He started writing about baseball in 2014 and has become fascinated by analytics and all the new data in the game. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in Columbus. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

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Thomas Green
Thomas Green
3 months ago

Great overlay clip of the pitches! Filthy.