Trevor Bauer raised a few eyebrows last week when he opted to pitch an inning against the Padres with one eye closed. Despite a compromised depth perception, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner tossed a scoreless inning with two strikeouts.
When Bauer opted for the same tactics on Thursday, the results weren't quite as smooth. After walking leadoff hitter J.P. Crawford to start the game, Bauer's impaired vision led him to plunk Mariners third baseman Ty France on a 1-2 count.
It was emblematic of a shaky outing for Bauer, who pitched 3 1/3 innings with one run, three hits, four walks and four strikeouts. in 8 1/3 innings this spring, he's struck out nine and allowed one run.
On his decision to pitch with one eye closed the first time around this spring, Bauer chalked it up to "just having a little bit of fun."
"I figured if they can't score off me with one eye open, it's gonna be difficult to score off me with two eyes open," Bauer said, per ESPN's Alden Gonzalez.
After Thursday's outing, Bauer said he was having issues with his delivery that impacted his command. He also said his right eye "wasn't really, like, focusing well for whatever reason," per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
Is that a winking reference to his eye-wide-shut approach this spring? Or was there something actually bothering his eye that made him unable to keep it open? Judging the recent history, the former appears more likely.