Bauer K's 10, flirts with no-no in LA debut

April 3rd, 2021

Hideo Nomo still stands as the only pitcher to complete a no-hitter at Coors Field, but for six innings in the Dodgers’ 11-6 win over the Rockies on Friday, gave him a pretty good run for his money.

In his first start with the Dodgers, Bauer was dominant from the jump. He needed just 35 pitches to get through three innings, striking out four in the process. He was his usual animated self on the mound, and occasionally broke out the Conor McGregor strut.

With the Dodgers’ relentless offense providing a healthy 10-run lead, Bauer got even stronger. He relied on a cutter and a slider combination that seemed unhittable. In the fifth inning, he threw three straight cutters to Ryan McMahon to get him swinging. He followed it up with two cutters to Chris Owings before he finished him off with a slider. To cap off a flawless inning, Bauer threw two more cutters to Dom Nuñez before striking him out with a curveball.

“I got in rhythm with the cutter there in the middle innings. It’s usually my best strike pitch, so not surprised there,” Bauer said. “But the slider was really good tonight, the cutter was really good. I thought the curveball was actually pretty good, too, when I needed it.”

Through six innings, Bauer looked every bit the pitcher that won the National League Cy Young Award with the Reds last season. He was through six hitless innings, and it looked as if Nomo was finally going to have company. But in the seventh, Coors Field reminded everyone why only one pitcher has been able to complete a no-hitter there.

Rockies shortstop Trevor Story jumped on the first pitch he saw from Bauer, shooting it into left field in front of outfielder for Colorado’s first hit of the game. The no-hit bid came nine outs short for Bauer, but the right-hander still had a chance to continue his gem.

Instead, Charlie Blackmon followed Story’s single with a homer, making it 10-2. Two batters later, McMahon launched another two-run homer off Bauer to make it 10-4. Bauer came into the inning with a no-hitter, and it ended with him not being able to record a quality start. Peak Coors.

“He was really good,” said Dodgers shortstop . “He made some mistakes at the end, but that happens in this ballpark. You have to be really quite perfect, and he was for about six and a half and then he just had some bad pitches, but overall I thought he threw the baseball really well and it was fun to be behind him.”

Bauer, who had to run the bases in the top of the seventh after reaching on an error, quickly shut down any theory that being on the basepaths affected his performance on the mound. He thought he executed the pitches he wanted, just didn’t get the results.

Despite the seventh inning, Bauer passed his Dodgers debut with flying colors.

“He was in control the entire game,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “He left a couple of pitches up late in that seventh inning, but overall, I think that he was disappointed in giving up some runs late, but I thought it was a fantastic outing.”

While Bauer controlled most of the game, he had a lot of help from an offense that is wasting no time reminding people why it was one of the game’s best in 2020. After going 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position on Opening Day, the Dodgers went 8-for-18 on Friday. Through two games, the Dodgers have scored 16 runs on 31 hits. Oh, and they still haven’t hit a home run.

“This is a well-rounded offense that can beat you in a lot of ways,” said Dodgers third baseman . “It’s not just about sitting back and hitting homers.”

After a sloppy performance on Opening Day, the Dodgers, led by Bauer and a relentless offense, looked more like, well, the Dodgers.