Shane Bieber has likely heard them all by now. The comments about his surname and the pop star who shares it. The young Cleveland Indians pitcher is doing all he can to step a bit outside that shadow.
Last night, in his third career start, the 23-year-old righty dominated the Detroit Tigers, working seven innings of scoreless ball and striking out nine. Bieber is now 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA. He’s walked three and struck out 22 in 18.1 innings, continuing a great minor league ration. In his three years at the lower levels, he’s walked 18 and struck out 255.
Bieber throws strikes and throws them with purpose. The pitching-rich Indians, who have opened up a significant lead in the AL Central, have been able to use him to fill the void left by injured Carlos Carrasco. Perhaps most impressive is the youngster’s command of his secondary pitches. He got swing and miss and swing and miss last night, and his breaking pitches were fantastic.
The Tribe can keep him as an integral cog in another playoff chase. They can parlay him at the trade deadline for a second baseman or center fielder. They have options. Bieber’s three-game showcase has yielded good things on the scoreboard, and could do so in the market.
He’s made a lot of, uh, Beliebers in a short span.