The Houston Astros will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season in a day game following last night’s 2-0 loss at the hands of the Cleveland Indians. The Astros don’t have much experience against Thursday’s opposing pitcher Trevor Bauer, so let’s go over what to look for in the series finale.
Thus far both games have been pitcher’s duels resulting in 2-0 wins for either club. In opposition of Bauer will be Asher Wojciechowski, who will be making his major-league debut following a stellar spring, where he owned a 1.29 ERA over 21 innings.
Last season Bauer struck out 21.6% of the batters he faced, or 8.41 per nine innings. In two games this season the Houston Astros have struck out in 20 out of their 55 at-bats for a percentage of 36.36%. Be on the look out for the two percentages to merge, and for the Astros to strike out in roughly 30% of their at-bats on Thursday. That said, Bauer is more of a fly ball pitcher, which works to the advantage of the ‘Stros with their lineup bursting with home run potential.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Bauer doesn’t quite have the pedigree that the previous two starters for the Tribe have mustered either, accumulating a 4.18 ERA last season while Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber finished with ERAs of 2.55 and 2.44. While the Astros haven’t faced Bauer much previously, Jose Altuve has three at-bats against the Cleveland righty and is 1-for-3, because of course.
With this being a day game after a night game, look for new addition Hank Conger, a switch-hitter, to be behind the dish to give Jason Castro an early breather. At the same time, Castro reached base three times on Wednesday night, so manager A.J. Hinch may want to keep his bat hot, especially after his poor 2014 season.
Here is a quick look at what Trevor Bauer threw last season with the mph of each pitch in parentheses.
Bauer mixes his pitches to keep batters guessing, shown by the fact that he only throws his fastball roughly half of the time. Typically, this percentage is higher among starting pitchers. What this mixture of pitches tells me is that he has six pitches that he uses fairly often, but none of them is truly dominant. He relies on keeping hitters off-balance, rather than overpowering them with “stuff”.
He’ll go up in the zone with his fastball to challenge hitters, and will try and sneak in his breaking pitches on the inside corner to righties, while going down and away to lefties. For instance, Chris Carter‘s isolated power is up in the zone according to BrooksBaseball, so instead of challenging him with a fastball, Bauer will likely be using his breaking pitches low and inside. Springer will likely be seeing fastballs up according to his chart from the same site.
The Astros should get some good swings against Bauer, and will hopefully get their offense jumpstarted before their series with the Texas Rangers over the weekend.
Fun Fact: Trevor Bauer has allowed 21 career home runs to 18 different batters. The only player with more than one home run against him is Oswaldo Arcia of the Twins with four.