One night removed from a bullpen game and limited in terms of available relief pitcher, the Los Angeles Dodgers needed every bit that Trevor Bauer could provide in the series opener against the San Francisco Giants.
Bauer threw 126 pitches, which was the most of any pitcher this season and one off matching his carer high. He limited the Giants to one unearned run and finished with 11 strikeouts over 6.1 innings.
Bauer exited with a runner on second base and a chorus of boos from Giants fans in attendance at Oracle Park. Bauer cupped his ear, raised his arms and encouraged the hostility as he walked to the dugout.
“They’re going to hate me anyway,” Bauer said after the Dodgers’ 2-1 win. “So might as well lean into it. I like when the crowd is into it. It makes the moment feel bigger, and I perform better in those moments. It just feeds me.”
Whether through his actions or supporting with others celebrating in non-traditional means, Bauer has long been a lightning rode. It’s a stance has garnered the right-hander plenty of criticism.
“Fans wanted to boo me, so I wanted them to turn the volume up. If you’re going to boo me, don’t — I can’t say — don’t half … whatever. Just give it to me,” Bauer added.
“I think I’ve always done well in environments like that. For the majority of my career — well, I don’t want to say that — but in my earlier career, high school and some of my college days, it was a negative environment towards me every time I pitched because it was coming from my own team.
“I’m comfortable there. People have disliked me for a long time and people have tried to bully me. I’m comfortable there.”
Bauer concluded his postgame interview with a simple message: “Reigning. Defending. Undisputed.”
Roberts, Taylor support Bauer
The Dodgers have embraced Bauer’s expressive personality and that remained the case following his pseudo wrestling act.
“You know what, what do they say? Let the kids play. So I think the gamesmanship, the fun, the banter back and forth, he dishes out and he can take it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s just great for the game and a lot of fun.”
Chris Taylor candidly added: “I didn’t see it. I saw the replay. It’s funny. I like it a lot better when he’s on my team than when we’re playing against him.”
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