Clippers 3, Mud Hens 1: Bauer uses heater for win on cold night

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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TOLEDO — For the record, Trevor Bauer has pitched in colder weather than what chilled him and the Clippers to the bone last night at Fifth Third Field.

“I threw a game in college,” the former UCLA star said. “We were playing Nebraska in the first week in March, maybe. It was 17 degrees before wind chill. So it felt like about 5 degrees during the game. It was nice and sunny. It was a beautiful day out. But it was just cold.”

In spite of the mid-30s temperature last night, Bauer (1-0) persevered and pitched six shutout innings in a 3-1 Clippers victory over the Toledo Mud Hens. He walked one and struck out nine. But it wasn’t as easy as it looked.

“I never had a good feel for my off-speed stuff today,” Bauer said. “I used my fastball more than I normally would. It was tough because I couldn’t feel the ball in my hand. I never had a good feel for what my body was doing half the time. But it’s my job. I can deal with that.”

His fastball topped out at 96 mph, and he built his velocity from the first to the sixth inning.

“It’s nice to see myself be able to maintain throughout the game,” Bauer said. “I threw a couple of good (breaking balls) when I was able to get a grip on the ball.”

Manager Chris Tremie was pleased with Bauer’s performance, which was his second start for the Clippers this season.

“I think his fastball usage and his ability to throw the ball where he wanted to both with his off-speed pitches and his fastball, and his were just a tick better than the last time,” Tremie said. “The way he threw the ball tonight, he’s going to be tough whoever is hitting.”

The Clippers jumped on Toledo starter Drew VerHagen (0-1) for two runs in the first inning. Tim Fedroff led off with a walk and went to third on a Jose Ramirez single. After Ramirez stole second, Jesus Aguilar and Carlos Moncrief followed with back-to-back RBI singles.

Bauer made the 2-0 lead seem bigger.

Catcher Roberto Perez helped him by catching James McCann off second base with a pickoff throw in the fourth inning.

Perez caught Bauer in 2013 and sees great improvement.

“The difference is he’s throwing strikes,” Perez said. “He’s keeping the ball down in the zone, and he’s attacking hitters. Last year, it was a little bit rough. This year, he throws everything for strikes.”

Outfielder Nyjer Morgan is expected to join the team today after being optioned by the Cleveland Indians. Infielder Justin Toole will return to double-A Akron.

jmassie@dispatch.com

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