Cincinnati Reds: Trevor Bauer’s home debut is must-see television

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 03: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds p[itches in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on August 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 03: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds p[itches in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on August 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Trevor Bauer makes his second start for the Cincinnati Reds and his first in front of the home crowd. This will be must-see TV.

The Cincinnati Reds made headlines at the trade deadline when they announced that they had completed a three-team trade with the Cleveland Indians and the San Diego Padres. The deal sent their top prospect, Taylor Trammell to San Diego. They also sent Yasiel Puig and Scott Moss to Cleveland. In exchange, the Reds welcomed former All-Star starting pitcher Trevor Bauer to the Queen City.

Adding Bauer to the already strong starting rotation has cemented them as one of the top starting rotations in all of Major League Baseball. It’s also a big step for the Reds front office, showing confidence that they are ready to get the players necessary to win both now and in the future.

Bauer made his first start for the Reds last week against the Braves. He seemed a little off his game, which is not all that surprising since he’s settling in with a new team. The pitch count rose quickly and the strike zone was a bit elusive, however, Bauer still managed to hold the Braves to just three runs and strike out four over 4.2 innings pitched.

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Bauer will take the mound for the Redlegs tonight against the Chicago Cubs, who are currently sitting in sole possession of first-place in the NL Central. The Reds are currently sitting eight games back after last night’s 12-5 loss to the Cubs. The Reds are also currently 4.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. This is a crucial series for the Reds, and after last night’s debacle, a split would be nice.

The offense is humming with the recent call-ups of Josh VanMeter and Aristides Aquino as well as the return of catcher, Tucker Barnhart, who has been on a tear since coming back from the injured list. The Reds have averaged over five runs per contest in their last 10 games. Given how well the pitching staff has looked, that looks like a solid number with the likes of Bauer, Sonny Gray, and Luis Castillo about to take the hill over the final three games of the series.

Bauer has faced the Cubs more than once in his career. Last season the Cubbies managed to hit just .208 as a team against Bauer. Given the magnitude of this series, expectations will be high for the starting pitchers to go the distance, especially after the bullpen allowed seven runs in six innings of relief last night.

I suspect Trevor Bauer will have a little something extra for the home fans tonight. Bauer knows the expectations that Reds fans have of him, and Reds Country will be wanting to see results from Bauer immediately, especially given that fan-favorite Yasiel Puig was dealt to the Indians in that trade.

I have no doubt at all the Bauer is more than capable of rising to the occasion, as he is no stranger to big moments on the mound. Though he did have a bit of a meltdown a couple weeks and hurled a baseball over the center field wall before being removed from a game by then-manager Terry Francona, Bauer has a level head on the mound and he will battle every batter he faces.

Bauer is going to have to fight through a tough lineup in order to get the win. The additional time he’s been able to spend working with the pitching coach Derek Johnson and catcher Tucker Barnhart will likely help in his preparation for Friday’s night debut at Great American Ball Park. It’s definitely not a game you’ll want to miss!

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A much more friendly schedule for the Cincinnati Reds lies ahead in September, but the Reds need to take care of business tonight and through the remainder of August. The stakes are high in Reds Country, as it has been a long time since we’ve seen the Reds still in contention this late in the season, playing meaningful baseball.