The Cleveland Indians will start right-hander Shane Bieber on Opening Day, as the Tribe commences the season against the Detroit Tigers, April 1.
Bieber will oppose Detroit southpaw Matthew Boyd.Both hurdlers are making their second-consecutive Opening Day starts.
Bieber is the Tribe’s most proven commodity on a pitching staff that comes with a lot of uncertainty. His rotation mates, Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, Triston McKenzie and Logan Allen all possess big upside, but until they string together consistent successes at the Major League level, we just don’t won’t know what the staff really has in store for fans in 2021.
Bieber himself is only 25. He won baseball’s most prestigious pitching award in a truncated, 60-game season, but that performance was no flash in the pan.
He won the 2019 All-Star Game MVP, but more than that game, the season forecasted what was to come for the UC Santa Barbara product.
Bieber went 15-8 and posted a 3.27 ERA in 2019. He finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting that season.
If the Indians can give him enough runs support this season, Bieber should flirt with 20-wins and be in contention for another Cy Young Award.
When it comes to the Tribe plating runs, though, that’s a big “if.” Bieber posted a 1.63 ERA last season, and he needed to be that good to get the eight wins he totaled.
Additionally, if he’s going to be a truly elite pitcher, he’s got to come through in the postseason. Hopefully he gets the chance, but with the MLBAA rejecting the plan for an extended postseason t his year, the Tribe’s margin for error is a lot smaller.
If the Tribe qualifies and is worthy of playing in October, Bieber must be better than he was in the opening playoff round against the Yankees.
In that outing, Bieber failed to make it five innings. He was shelled for seven earned runs.
He’s talked about the sour note his season ended on, and he’s conveying the message that the dismal performance will serve as motivation moving forward.