The tone was critical. The words were… complimentary? Add it all up, and Trevor Bauer’s postgame comments about the Braves’ bats after Atlanta’s comeback, 8-7 victory at Progressive Field on Saturday night were certainly curious.
“It didn’t seem like they wanted to hit tonight,” said Bauer, who went 6 1/3 innings and held the Braves to two runs on three hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts but used 120 pitches. “It seemed like they were looking to take pitches and foul pitches off… You’ve got to give them credit. They made me throw a lot of pitches, and they made me get out of the game in the seventh instead of the eighth or ninth. So, I guess, good job on their approach to them.”
The comments -- which come off as more disapproving in video form than they do in print, given Bauer’s intonations, eye rolls, etc. -- reached the Braves’ clubhouse.
“We heard that,” Freddie Freeman said. “It makes no sense. I don’t think he even knows what he was saying. It’s 40 degrees out. He’s a good pitcher, and we’re going to try to work you. I think we’re [usually] one of the most free-swinging teams there is. I think that comment is just … he hasn’t done his research.”
For background, going back to the start of 2018, the Braves have the highest first-pitch-swing percentage in baseball (34.3) and the second-lowest percent of pitches taken (50.7). But against Bauer, in the bone-chilling cold Saturday night, they took 52.7 percent of first pitches. They took 15 called strikes, 44 balls and fouled off 31 pitches.