Dodgers' Bauer relishes first taste of Giants rivalry

By Sports Desk May 22, 2021

The rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants is one of the fiercest in MLB, and Trevor Bauer wasted no time staking out his territory Friday. 

The Dodgers' high-priced off-season acquisition was his usual demonstrative self in his first start against the Giants since joining the team, and made no apologies for it afterward. 

The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner allowed only two hits and an unearned run while striking out a season-high 11 batters in the 2-1 Los Angeles win. But Bauer was not content to let his pitching do the talking. 

After striking out Alex Dickerson to end the fourth with Giants runners on second and third base, Bauer stopped on his way off the mound and acted as if he was sheathing a sword. 

When he departed the game with one out if the seventh inning, he put his hand to his right ear, egging on the jeering San Francisco fans, before spreading both arms like a professional wrestling villain. 

"They're going to hate me anyway," Bauer told reporters. "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.”

The man who signed a three-year contract worth $102million with the World Series champions this winter improved to 5-2 while lowering his ERA to 1.98, but he was more interested in the atmosphere than the numbers. 

"The fans wanted to boo me so I wanted them to turn the volume up," Bauer said.

"If you're going to boo me, don't half-whatever it around the stadium -- just give it to me."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had no objections to Bauer's playing to the crowd. 

“I think the gamesmanship, the fun, the banter back-and-forth, he dishes it out and he can take it,” Roberts said. “It’s just great for the game. It’s a lot of fun.”

Giants starter Alex Wood, who suffered his first loss of the season after starting 5-0, shrugged off Bauer's showmanship. 

"I'm sure that Giants fans will love to hate Trevor and he'll love that they hate him," Wood said. 

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