Bauers hits MLB's first cycle since ... Thursday

Indians DH follows Halos' Ohtani in achieving historic feat

June 15th, 2019

DETROIT -- The way Cleveland’s No. 6 prospect, Bobby Bradley, is hitting in Triple-A has put , who has struggled so far offensively this season, on the hot seat. But on Friday, Bauers silenced the naysayers.

Bauers hit for the cycle in the series opener against the Tigers, capping it off with a two-run homer in the eighth off Blaine Hardy. Bauers hit an RBI double in his first at-bat in the second and an infield single in the fourth before his team batted around, allowing him to record an RBI triple later that inning. The Indians rolled to a 13-4 victory.

“That’s something I never even thought about, hitting for the cycle,” Bauers said. “So to do it ... I don’t know. I don’t know what to say about it. Pretty speechless. Just happy, excited.”

The 23-year-old is the first Indians hitter to accomplish the feat since Rajai Davis on July 2, 2016. Bauers followed the Angels' Shohei Ohtani, who hit for the cycle on Thursday, becoming the first pair to do so on consecutive days since Tris Speaker and Chief Meyers on June 9-10, 1912.

“I mean everybody was thrilled for him, myself included,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It certainly helped lead us to a win, but just to see him swing kind of free and easy and to use the opposite field ... That was really good to see.”

The homer

When Bauers dove into third after serving his triple into left-center field, his mind immediately focused on the cycle. But in his final at-bat, he tried to ignore it. That was, until stepped in.

“I was talking to him before I went up there and I told him, ‘I don’t know man, I think I’m just going to try and stay left-center and get a base hit where the shortstop should be,’” Bauers said. “And he’s like, ‘Dude, you've got to try to hit a homer.’”

“[Bauers] came up and he was trying to talk himself out of swinging for a homer,” Bieber said. “And I was like, ‘Dude, your approach is great. I love your approach. But you have to let it eat.’ It didn’t take much convincing, obviously.”

Bauers blasted the first pitch he saw 406 feet over the right-center-field wall. As he made his way to first base, he pointed to Bieber in the dugout.

“He talked me into it a little bit. I caught something out in front, and luckily it went out,” Bauers said. “I had to give Biebs a little special love.”

The meeting

Bauers has struggled throughout the first two months of the season, hitting .209 with a .640 OPS entering Friday. Over his past 25 games, he hit .172/.265/.345, with 29 strikeouts.

“It’s been frustrating,” Bauers said. “It’s been up and down. But at the end of the day, that is baseball. And you got to find a way to keep going. Got to find a way to separate the days.”

But as the game continued to wear on Bauers, Francona took it upon himself to call the 23-year-old into his office prior to Friday's game to try to help him relax.

“I wanted to make sure he understood that we’re kind in all of this together,” Francona said. “And young guys are going to struggle. That’s part of the game. I just want to make sure that he’s going about it the most productive way he can.”

“A lot of pressure goes into playing this game, especially at the highest level,” Bauers said. “So any time you hear that from someone like him, it’s very reassuring.”

Their chat lasted a while, but as Bauers left the manager’s office, he walked away with a message that will last far beyond Friday’s career performance:

“Stop thinking so much. Just simplify everything," Bauers said. "At the end of the day, this is a game I’ve been playing for a long time. When you overthink things, nothing’s easy, so really just tried to not worry about anything, use the middle of the field, stay left-center and let everything take care of itself.”