The Dodgers’ prized offseason acquisition navigated through his first inning against the Padres on Saturday afternoon by pitching mostly with his right eye shut, a coaching method he said he uses frequently as a means to make himself uneasy.
“I figured if they can’t score off me with one eye open, it is gonna be difficult to score me off with two eyes open,” Bauer said after throwing three scoreless innings in the Dodgers’ centre. “Just having a little bit of pleasure .”
Bauer didn’t go into particulars for why he sometimes chooses to keep an eye shut, though Dodgers director Dave Roberts said that it had something to do with recalibrating his control.
“I think there might have been one curveball I think he did with both eyes shut,” Roberts said while holding his bliss. “I really don’t understand, but there’s a method to his madness.”
Bauer, 30, said he regularly keeps a minumum of one eye shut in bullpen sessions, even while enjoying long toss and when confronting hitters over the offseason, adding that he enjoys”making me uneasy and throwing different things my way and seeking to find a solution for this.”
Bauer gave up one to Jurickson Profar to start his outing, capping a nine-pitch at-bat, then issued a walk to Tommy Pham before retiring the next three batters, the last two on strikeouts. On the next two innings — with both eyes open, apparently — he murdered six of those seven hitters he faced.
The Padres were coming off a Friday night game and did not play most of their starters, which meant Bauer didn’t get a second crack at third baseman Manny Machado, who is famously batting .588/.667/.1.412 against him at 17 career plate appearances. Bauer previously made a YouTube video analyzing Machado’s victory against him, and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman joked about the urge to figure out something from Machado shortly after registering Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract a month.
Bauer joked that Machado had been”already ducking me” by not making the trip.
When the games start counting, Bauer said he will have a lot of chances against him.
“It is gonna be a fun year.”