The Detroit Tigers saw Trevor Bauer frequently when he pitched in the American League Central for the Cleveland Indians.
Bauer is now in the National League with the Cincinnati Reds, but the Tigers can't seem to escape the flame-throwing right-hander. They'll face him for the second time in less than a week on Saturday during the second game of a three-game series in Detroit.
Bauer (0-0, 1.42 ERA) racked up 13 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings during his season debut against the Tigers on Sunday. He allowed just one run on two hits, but Detroit rallied for a 3-2 victory.
While his fastball reached 98 mph, he recorded seven of his strikeouts on breaking pitches.
"I think (the fastball) really set the tone for him and set him up to go really deep in the game," Reds manager David Bell said. "And he probably had more in the tank, but can't do much better than that the first time out. Going well over 100 pitches and getting into the seventh inning, that exceeded all of our expectations (Sunday), even for Trevor."
Bauer will be making his 22nd career appearance against Detroit on Saturday. He is 10-6 with a 5.11 ERA against the Tigers, though most of the poor outings came earlier in his career. He was 6-1 against them the past two seasons.
Bauer also struck out 135 batters in 119 2/3 innings in those 21 outings, including 20 starts. He's been among the top 10 in strikeouts over the last three seasons.
"I tend to have that in big moments, the adrenaline kicks in and I get hyper-competitive," Bauer said, according to MLB.com. "I hate giving up runs, so my stuff generally ticks up and I become more competitive in those moments. I was happy to see that it was still there. Not that I ever thought it would go away, but you never know, it's a new season."
Bauer will be opposed initially by Michael Fulmer (0-0, 13.50), who will be making his second start since recovering from Tommy John surgery. Fulmer gave up four runs, including three homers, on five hits in 2 2/3 innings against Kansas City in his season debut on Monday.
"It wasn't the Cinderella comeback story I was hoping for," Fulmer said, according to the Detroit News. "I was a little rusty, obviously. But, not to make excuses. I felt ready. I need to do a better job the next time out."
He's not expected to pitch deep into the Saturday game.
"We are probably going to stay with this program," Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Hopefully, he can get through three innings next time. It got a little rough there at the end (Monday). But he made some good pitches those first couple innings. We plan on sending him out there every fifth day and see how he gets through. Just keep building up."
Fulmer has made just one career appearance against Cincinnati, a loss in which he gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings.
The Tigers took the series opener 7-2 on Friday. Catcher Austin Romine, signed as a free agent during the offseason, was the hitting star with two hits, two runs and two RBIs.
"Romine, he's a warrior back there," Gardenhire said. "He got some big hits for us and he calls a really nice game behind the plate. He crosses their hitters up quite a bit."
Saturday's game has been moved from 6:10 p.m. ET to 1:10 p.m. ET due to the threat of evening rain.