Trevor Bauer is starting tonight for the Cincinnati Reds. He’s a Cy Young contender this year, currently rocking a 1.80 ERA on the season and is among the league leaders in nearly every category. He’s been an Ace. It’s been the kind of season, and then some, that the Reds envisioned when they traded for him last trade deadline.

Tonight, though, is different from the rest of his season. Trevor Bauer is pitching on short rest against Milwaukee, in a game that feels like a must win against the Brewers. The track record for Bauer on short rest – well, it isn’t good. In fact, it’s pretty bad. Let’s take a look at his career when he’s pitching on three days rest:

Regular Season 6.00 9.0 11 3 2 10
Playoffs 5.19 5.2 10 1 2 10

Let’s start off by saying that the sample size here is a grand total of four games. Two came in the regular season and two came in the playoffs. The two regular season short rest starts came in September of the last two seasons – one with Cleveland and one with Cincinnati. The other two, of course, came in the playoffs.

Toss that all out of the window. What happened in those games doesn’t matter today. Yes, it’s still September, just like the other two regular season starts on three days rest. And it’s still late in the season like the playoff starts were. But this is 2020 and it’s very different. In the past when Trevor Bauer has pitched on short rest he was near the end, or beyond a season where he had 190.0, 176.1, 175.1, or 213.0 innings pitched. Right now he’s sitting on 65.0 innings. To say that the wear-and-tear on his arm during the season isn’t remotely comparable to the other four times he was asked to pitch on three days rest is underselling it.

“I always feel ready to pitch and strong. I take care of my body, lifting, and all of that throughout the year,” said Bauer on Tuesday about the difference between short rest now versus the past when it’s come after a longer season. “I’ve got to imagine that there’s some downward trend in strength and ability as the season progresses into the 5th month, 6th month, 7th month of the season that maybe I don’t notice when I’m in it. I feel great. I recovered from my last start better than I’ve recovered from any start this season, so that was super encouraging. Yeah, I’m excited about the opportunity to pitch again. I enjoy pitching, especially in big games that have a lot on the line. So, I’m excited for it.”

That’s not to say that not having a full four days of rest isn’t going to impact things. It very well could. But this particular writer is also suggesting that looking at his past performance on three days rest isn’t particularly useful, either, given the context of when those games happened versus when it’s happening now. The ask is quite a bit different in terms of what his arm has gone through when the ask happened.

With that said, the circumstances are similar. Trevor Bauer is being asked to do something because he’s the kind of pitcher his team believes is giving them their best shot at winning. And while it’s the regular season, tonight has a “must win” feel to it – perhaps more so than any single game in the upcoming Twins series given both the divisional and wild card tiebreaker implications that come along with beating the Brewers tonight.

31 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    We’ll know the 2020 version of the outcome in a few hours, won’t we?

  2. ClevelandRedsFan

    Bauer was good last time out on short rest. 7 innings, 2 ER against the Sox.

  3. BigRedGhostInTheMachine

    Bauer’s value goes up astronomically if he pitches a shutout tonight. I love that he wants to put his mouth where his money is. Just hope he can back it up.

  4. Matt WI

    Or… the offense could just show up and make it easy on a pitcher for once. Pretty please.

    • Mark Moore

      OK, Matt, put the bottle down … we all know that suggestion is just the liquor talking 🙂

      • Matt WI

        Mmmm. Not a chance….It’s too delicious to put down. I’ll be keeping Doug’s swear detection software busy soon.

      • CallowayPost

        He’s sober enough to know what he is doing, and he’s drunk enough to really enjoy doing it.

      • KG

        I came for the Reds news, but I’m staying for the comedy! ?

  5. RedBaron

    The one regular season game with the Indians was also after what appears to have been as an Opener as well. But ya, I’m worried as well…

    • Doug Gray

      I’d have to go back and look, but I’m guessing it was a rain delay that cut that one short.

  6. SultanofSwaff

    This is Bauer’s chance to put a chokehold on the Cy Young. Very much looking forward to this start!

    It’s not fair to lay this all on his shoulders. We need the offense to carry their weight.

  7. Johnnie Sparks

    The stats at the top of the page are the reason I’ve been against him starting on short rest. If reds lose tonight. They would have to win 2 of 3 vs twins. With our 3 pitchers on short rest. Twins are playing to win the central. Would start mahle with Sims an mike Lo getting ready if he gets in trouble. Then u have ur best 3 pitchers for the last 3 gms. Just saying.

    • JOE


  8. Redgoggles

    This is risky, and feels a bit like we are outsmarting ourselves. Kind of like assuming the handedness of our batters offsets the relative difficulty/success of pinch-hitters overall. So, in line with our organizational philosophy. I’m predicting the need for 3 home runs for the good guys to win tonight. That, or 11 walks/2 HBPs. We are undefeated when we do that.

    It’s a huge game, but it seems like we are going to need to win in Minnesota too.

  9. jim walker

    As suggested above the decision has been taken so let’s hope it works for the Reds tonight!

    As always, Just win Reds, Just win.

    • Mark Moore

      6 is the least likely. It means the WLB’s collapsed and Miami poured it on to take the 5 seed. It also means playing the Stupid Cubs (which I’m fine with).

      7 means the Bravos. 8 is an ugly visit to Chavez Ravine 😐

    • jim walker

      Beggars can’t be choosers and that’s the situation the Reds have played themselves into based on their entire body of work for 2020. Get in and take things as they come from there.

  10. Jack

    We are facing a weak pitcher for the Brewers, do we really want to burn our best pitcher when he doesn’t pitch well on short rest? Let Mahle start, Bradley, Iglesias, Sims, etc should all be available if there is a sign of trouble

  11. RedsFan11

    Anyone else start drinking yet? Nevers are kicking in already! Come On Reds!

    Biggest game in 7! years

  12. Old-school

    All I know is other than the Bengals and joe Burrow, I didn’t watch a down of NFL football this weekend.

    I now check regularly for scores of Marlins and giants and Phillies which I’ve never done.

    Hope the Reds get in.

  13. Jack

    I don’t care what the odds say, I think the Reds chances of being in the playoffs boil down to winning tonight’s game. They are using their best pitcher and have a hard series on the road afterwards.

  14. steve ebersole

    Just saw the lineup, a little surprised that Sensel isnt in center with shogo in left.

    • Doc

      What is Senzel hitting since his return from the mysterious IL period? Rhetorical question.

  15. SteveLV

    I was a proponent of waiting until the results of Monday and a Tuesday were in before deciding on Bauer on Wednesday. With the split, I am good with starting Bauer.

    I will say, I’d rather be in the Reds shoes counting on Bauer on short rest, rather than where the Brewers are, counting on Houser to be someone he’s not.

    • Doc

      My recollection is that when facing the Reds anemic offense, pitchers seem to be more someone than someone they are not.

      I was not favorably impressed with the pinch hitting decisions made late in yesterday’s games.

  16. Johnnie Sparks

    They can lose tonight an still make it. Tonight’s gm isn’t the most important one. Reds pitching should be decent enough for the last 4 gms. The offence will b the biggest obstacle along with the David Bell. For tonight I go shogo votto moose Suarez Winkler Nick c senzel Tucker garcia