Cy candidate Bauer gets start on short rest

September 22nd, 2020

CINCINNATI -- Reds pitcher will get his long-awaited wish at 6:40 p.m. ET on Wednesday, when he makes a start against the Brewers on three days' rest for the first time this season. It can be seen on MLB.TV. Bauer has been a proponent of four-man rotations because he believes that puts him in a better position to succeed.

“I could talk an hour about that,” Bauer said on Tuesday. “But I collect like close to 50 metrics on myself every single day, and they all point to this being the most optimal way to get my body prepared to pitch. So I guess a scientific approach to it I have instead of just a feeling like, ‘Oh, I could do this.’ I have actual numbers to back it up.”

A Major Leaguer since 2012, Bauer has started on short rest four times in his career, including for Cincinnati on Sept. 4, 2019. Against the Phillies in an 8-5 win, he allowed four earned runs and six hits, including two homers, over five innings.

During Saturday’s 5-0 Reds loss to the White Sox, Bauer gave up two earned runs on a pair of solo homers in the fifth over seven innings. He altered his between-starts routine slightly, which included his working out after Sunday’s game rather than before.

“I have trouble sleeping after a start, especially because I was probably more mad about that start than about any start in the season,” Bauer said. “So instead of coming in early and getting my work done before the game, I decided to get a little extra sleep to help with the recovery and then get my work done after the game. That wasn’t really a starting-on-short-rest type of thing. It was just a compensation for the schedule. I would have done that regardless.”

Bauer is 4-4 with a 1.80 ERA in 10 starts this season and is a contender for the National League Cy Young Award. As the Reds fight for a playoff spot, Bauer working on short rest will enable the club to use him twice this week -- on Wednesday and in Sunday's season finale vs. the Twins.

“Basically, I just take out my bullpen day,” Bauer said. “So I go with my full recovery day the day after, my kind of hybrid long-toss day, Day 2, and then my day-before-throwing routine that I’ll do today, Day 3, and then pitch again. I give my body a linear recovery period three, four days of recovery. I’ll feel great. That’s more uninterrupted recovery days than I normally get, leading into a start, because of that bullpen and lift day on Day 3. So in the absence of that, it actually puts me in a more recovered, better state. And that’s one of the main reasons I think that my body is more prepared to pitch every fourth day and everything.”

Jones DFA’d
To make room for 's activation from the 10-day injured list to start Tuesday, the Reds designated for assignment reliever .

Jones, a Northern Kentucky native who made the team on Opening Day as a non-roster player, went 0-1 with a 6.27 ERA in 21 appearances. He pitched the ninth inning of Monday’s 6-3 win, giving up a two-run homer to Jace Peterson.

“He would always take the ball and he was able to go multiple innings. He just did a lot for us, and he contributed in a lot of ways,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We’re hoping it turns out that he stays with us and remains in our bubble and is still an option for us if we’re able to get to the postseason, and we’re able to make a decision to add him if he’s still with us.”

Bullpen cheering section
With no fans inside Great American Ball Park this season, the Reds' grounds crew has been a fun source of energy for the players while they sit in seats near the home dugout. But that hasn’t been the only cheering section.

Cincinnati’s relievers in the center-field bullpen are also a vocal bunch in supporting their teammates during games. They keep track of the outs, shout to the outfielders and celebrate home runs as a group.

“We try to stay in the game as much as we can. We’re over there supporting, cheering, spinal waves. We’re trying to do as much as we can for our team,” reliever said. “We did the spinal waves a little bit last year.

“We just want to stay engaged. Sometimes you feel helpless down there, and there are no fans. You have the grounds crew screaming, you’ve got us screaming. Our boys are out there playing and hitting, playing the field, and they have no fans, so we have to be the fans for them, and then the grounds crew. We’re just trying to support them any way we can. That’s all we’re trying to do. We’re trying to have fun with it, too.”