What Do You Mean Justin err I mean Shane Bieber had 15 strikeouts while pitching a complete game shutout on Sunday? On an ailing pitching staff that has already seen two of their five starting pitchers placed on the injured list even before the calendar has flipped to June, the right-hander showed Cleveland and the rest of the MLB just how dominant this pitching staff can be at full strength. When 100% healthy, Bieber is the No. 5 starter in the rotation. It would be tough to find another five-starter better than him, let alone an entire staff that features such dominance like the Indians’ Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, and Bieber. You could say that the latter has some good Company when all of them are fully healthy. Bieber’s outing on Sunday proved just that.
Shane Bieber, 15Ks in 23 Seconds. pic.twitter.com/DgazoOUSH5
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 19, 2019
When you add in the Indians’ offense exploding, and, well, it was a fun weekend to be an Indians fan.1 What made it even better was the fact that Oscar Mercado did well at the plate and was able to show off his wheels on the bases as well.
I’m not an analytics guy when it comes to baseball. While I would love to learn about all of that, I’ve just never taken the time to, something that I hope will change sooner rather than later. Even without knowing the analytics side of the game, I do know that scoring a lot of runs on offense and striking out a lot of batters on defense is quite good. Granted, it came against the Orioles, whose 15-31 record is currently the second-worst record in the league, but still, Indians fans should never take that dominance as they had during their four-game series for granted. Hopefully, the Indians now feel more Confident as well, both offensively and as a pitching staff.
Friday’s 4-1 loss may have been a dud, but in all, outscoring Baltimore, 29-13, while winning three of the four games was nothing short of entertaining. Maybe, just maybe, that was the type of series that would get their offense going. If they can pair that with their pitching staff following in Bieber’s footsteps that he showed on Sunday, the Indians may be able to get going sooner rather than later.
I’ll admit it, there’s been a different feeling surrounding this team all season. Whether it was the less-than-ideal offseason that featured the Indians cutting their payroll during the contention window, the “Enjoy Him” comments made by owner Paul Dolan concerning Francisco Lindor, or something else, it’s been tough to be positive about the 2019 Indians. They may currently be 25-20, but still, it seems like they are just so far behind some other teams in the American League, let alone the National League. Their pitching staff can carry them, as Bieber proved on Sunday, but offense and runs have been tough to come by. Cleveland’s 179 runs scored are the eighth-fewest in the league. Then again, we should Never Say Never when it comes to the postseason because anything can happen in October, and that’s really All That Matters.
Sorry, I’ll see myself out with the Justin Bieber song titles that I dispersed throughout this story.2 Then again, I was just trying to have some fun, the same fun the Indians and their fans had on the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario this past weekend. Now, the Indians must continue to improve, especially once their key rotation pieces return. Until then, their offense has to take the momentum they earned from this past weekend and keep it going if they want to keep pace with the Minnesota Twins in the division.