Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Indians' Trevor Bauer dominates the fourth in Seattle: Inning Anatomy

The Cleveland Indians received a great performance from starting pitcher Trevor Bauer in defeating the Seattle Mariners, 3-1. Bauer's complete dominance started in the fourth inning, which is dissected here.

Maybe Trevor Bauer just enjoys pitching in front of his friends? The Cleveland Indians starting pitcher threw a shutout against the Houston Astros on May 10 with his Houston-based training staff from DST cheering him on. On Monday, Bauer dominated the Seattle Mariners with pitching doctor Kyle Boddy and the rest of the Seattle-based Driveline Baseball staff in attendance. He ended up recording 10 strikeouts to one walk, while allowing only a single run over 7 2/3 innings pitched against the second-best offense in the AL (5.05 runs/game). The Indians (32-24) lengthened their AL Central divisional lead to 2.5 games with the 3-1 victory.

Pitch Selection

One striking dichotomy during Bauer's performance was his ability to strike Seattle batters out, but not until the fourth inning on. He started the game without a single strikeout in the first three innings before putting up a "K" on 10 of the last 14 batters he faced.

Innings one through three: 3 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 SO, 0 BB

Innings four through seven: 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 10 SO, 1 BB

Bauer came into the game with a fresh new approach. His most utilized pitch in his ever-expanding arsenal has consistently been his four-seam fastball, which generates a high amount of whiffs. On June 1 versus the Texas Rangers, Bauer threw this pitch 37 times compared with just 20 sinkers (two-seam fastballs) and 22 curveballs.

On Monday, Bauer ditched the fourseamer (8 pitches) in favor of a heavy dose of two-seam fastballs (46 pitches), while mixing in both his curveball (23 pitches) and changeup (22 pitches). Bauer even threw his cutter (10 pitches) more often. Whether it was a specific scouting report on the Mariners or something noticed by Bauer himself, the difference in control was noticeable. It was Bauer's first outing with one walk or less since July 28 2015 and even the walk seemed intentional (more in a bit).

The Mariners seemed perplexed by the development early in the game as they grounded into a bunch of harmless outs. And, once the hitters adjusted to the new Bauer, so did he. His adjustment was striking them out en masse.

Cano cannot

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One of the trends from Bauer was his ability to locate both his changeup and curveball early in counts for strikes. In the fourth inning, Bauer started Robinson Cano off with his 88 mile per hour changeup. He followed it with a heavily-moving (over five inches on both the horizontal and vertical planes), 77 mile per hour curve that Cano could only foul off. By the time Bauer reached back and pulled his 97 mile per hour twoseam fastball out, Cano wasn't able to catch up to it nor realize it was well out of the zone.

Whether it is the influence of Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway, catcher Chris Gimenez, Driveline Baseball, or Bauer himself, it is fantastic to see him set up hitters and finish them off as he did Cano.

Cruz control for Bauer

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Nelson Cruz might still be waiting in the batters boxl. Following up the Cano strikeout, Bauer followed a similar tact on Cruz. He started him off with an off-speed (for him) 90 mile per hour cutter for a strike. He dipped in an 80 mile per hour curveball before finishing off the strikeout with a 97 mile per hour twoseam fastball.

The main difference between the at bats is Bauer threw each pitch to nearly the same spot. The precision shown completely fooled Cruz as he watched each ball take a different flight path only to wind up in the same position with each being called a strike.

So, after facing the two best hitters in the Seattle lineup in the fourth inning, Bauer had two strikeouts on six pitches.

Trouble brewing

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Kyle Seager was among the few Mariners who caught up to Bauer. Seager was able to take one of the heaters that found the middle of the plate and deposit it into the gap in left-center field as he trotted in with a double.

Bauer didn't panic. He gave Adam Lind a non-intentional, intentional walk as he attempted to induce him to swing at pitches well out of the zone. It was a smart play to setup potential forces at each base. Of course, he didn't need them.

Ia-notta gonna get a hit

Courtesy of Pitch f/x via

Hey, remember when it was mentioned Bauer was throwing off-speed pitches early in the count to both get ahead in the counts and setup the batters for his fastball? Well, if a pitcher follows the same script throughout a start, then he'd get rocked by professional hitters. So, Bauer gunned two straight fastballs (a two-seamer and a four-seamer) to Chris Ianetta.

Ianetta was able to foul off the first, but whiffed on the second. Then, after laying off a high curveball out of the zone, Bauer came back with it on the lower outside corner. Basically, Ianetta's only hope on this type of pitch is to foul it off. Instead, he missed it, and Bauer's dominant inning was complete.

I believe Joba Chamberlain approves of the performance.

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