Baby, baby, baby, oh!
You could hear Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco singing this during starting pitcher Shane Bieber’s record-setting performance on Sunday, May 19 against the Baltimore Orioles.
In a complete game, 15-strikeout performance that took just over 100 pitches, Bieber joined an exclusive club. Along with Hall of Famer Dwight Gooden, former All-Star Kerry Wood, Philadelphia Phillies’ starting pitcher Vince Velasquez, Bieber became one of the youngest pitchers to record a 15-strikeout, no-walk, shutout performance on the mound. The fourth-youngest, in fact (23 years, 323 days).
Going into Sunday’s game, the Indians’ offense was there, putting up 19 runs in the first three games of the series. In Thursday’s opener, the Indians put 14 runs on the board.
However, the pitching had been struggling. The Indians did give up seven runs in that series opener, with Trevor Bauer giving up seven runs. In the Friday night matchup, the Indians gave up five runs in a 5-1 loss, with Jefry Rodriguez giving up four runs. Saturday started to shift towards Bieber’s performance, as the pitching settled down in a 4-1 win. Sunday, history happened.
For a guy coming off of an 11-5 season in his rookie year, it was only a matter of time before Bieber had a performance like Sunday’s. Going into Sunday, Bieber was 2-2, with his previous two wins coming in consecutive starts (April 11 @ Detroit, April 16 @ Seattle). Bieber’s previous best start, which I would consider to be the April 11 game at Comerica Park, saw him go seven innings and strike out six batters.
Bieber could not have picked a better time to have a performance like Sunday’s. “He picked a good day to miss bats,” said Francona.
Having dominant arms in the bullpen like Bieber further my belief as to why the Indians have the MLB’s most dominant bullpen. In addition, performances, like the one we saw from Bieber on Sunday, take a load off the shoulders of our staff aces Kluber and Bauer. While Clevinger and Salazar are on the IL, Bieber provides some relief (see what I did there)?
Will Bieber be able to follow up his dominant May 19 performance in his next start, which will come Friday, May 24 against the Tampa Bay Rays? He certainly is capable of it.
With a performance like Sunday’s, Bieber gives the Indians a potential third number one starter in their bullpen. We have seen guys have dominant performances only a few times in their career, only to be overshadowed by mediocre games the rest of the way.
Bieber, however, is not a guy that is “mediocre.” He is a great, young talent that represents the youth movement in baseball today. Bieber is a guy who Indians fans can feel confident about winning game after game. Bieber is the baby, baby, baby of the Indians staff.
He is only just getting started…