Bauer says pinkie good to go for Game 2
CLEVELAND — The last time the baseball world caught a glimpse of Trevor Bauer’s mangled pinkie finger on his right hand, it was grotesquely dripping blood onto the pitching rubber in Toronto during the AL Championship Series.
Unlike most horror movies, however, Bauer has no plans for a sequel.
The Cleveland Indians pitcher is confident the mound will be blood free when he starts Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night against the Chicago Cubs. Bauer tested the finger — notoriously hurt while he was tinkering with a drone — during a simulated game on Monday. He wore gauze over the finger — a no-no during an actual game — just to see if it could withstand the pressure placed on it when Bauer grips the ball and lets it rip.
When Bauer unwrapped the finger after throwing about 20 pitches, he exhaled.
“We took it off and it was completely white, so it was a non-issue,” Bauer said.
That was hardly the case in Game 3 of the ALCS, when Bauer lasted all of two outs and 21 pitches, the still fresh wound ripping open and caking Bauer’s jersey, pants and portions of the mound in blood. The Indians won anyway, relying on six relievers to get the final 25 outs in a 4-2 victory. Bauer is confident he’ll be able to carry more of a workload this time around against Chicago’s Jake Arrieta.
“I’m prepared,” said Bauer, who went 12-8 with a 4.26 ERA in the regular season. “I’m going to go out there and execute to the best level of my ability, and it’s going to be what it’s going to be.”
Arrieta showed his remarkable run to the 2015 Cy Young was no fluke, though the dominance that came to him so easily last season was much more difficult to come by this summer. Arrieta went 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA in 2016, though he struggled at times down the stretch, posting a 5.01 ERA in his final four regular season starts. He’s been OK if hardly spectacular in the playoffs, getting a no-decision in Game 3 of the Division Series against San Francisco and surrendering four runs in five innings of a Game 3 loss to the Dodgers in the NLCS.
Arrieta’s focus will be trying to keep Cleveland’s running game in check. The Indians led the American League with 143 stolen bases. Opponents were safe on 23 of 26 stolen base attempts against Arrieta during the season.