Cleveland Guardians ace Shane Bieber took the bump for the second time this season after concerning stats in the season opener against the Royals.
Bieber’s velocity and spin rate was down, leaving most to chalk it up a pitcher who is still building up his workload while making up for time lost during a truncated Spring Training.
The Cleveland staff ace’s velocity on his four-seam fastball was slightly up in start No. 2, as he averaged 91 miles per hour, compared to to 90.6 in Kansas City. He hit a max pitch speed of 91.9 against the Royals and topped out at 92.2 miles per hour against the Reds.
For what it’s worth, Bieber averages 92.8 miles per hour on the four-seamer and maxes out at 95.2, according to baseball savant.
The spin rate on his slider was down from he threw in Kansas City–and it’s down from where he was last season when healthy. Bieber averaged 2,683 RPM from hand to plate last season on his slider in 2021. He maxed out at 2,564 against the Reds, averaging 2,393 RPM.
He averaged 85.7 miles per hour on the pitch last season, but was at 84.1 at Great American Ball Park.
Shane Bieber says he’s getting comfortable
Bieber talked to reporters after the game and said his heater isn’t where where he wants it to be.
"“Everything else was coming into play,” Bieber said. “My fastball was playing up a little bit, even though the velocity isn’t where I want it to be. But in terms of stuff and comfortability I’m getting to where I need to be.”"
It looked like he was going to coast until he got to the fifth inning, when Jonathan India tattooed a Bieber offering into the left field corner for a two-run double. Anthony Gose gave up a bomb in relief, with Indians counting toward Bieber’s line.
Overall, Bieber threw 5.1 innings, struck out five, gave up two hits and walked two, while giving up three earned runs.
The velocity and spin rate shouldn’t be overly concerning, as Bieber is like a lot of other pitchers who didn’t get their arms up to snuff.
At the very least, Bieber’s first two outings both have given his team a shot to win, which was exactly the case Tuesday in Cincinnati.