Cleveland’s Shane Bieber equalizes most strikeout record thanks to two Gem starts against Twins

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Shane Bieber, the talented 25-year-old right-hander from Cleveland, made history Thursday night against the Minnesota Twins in his second start of the season. Bieber pitched eight shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks and striking out 13 batters along the way. That performance, combined with his 14 opening day strikeouts, tied him with Karl Spooner (1954) for the most strikeouts in two starts in one season since 1901.

Here are the rest of the top five in this category, according to the FOX Sports show:

Karl Spooner

1954

27

Shane Bieber

2020

27

Curt Schilling

2002

26

Vince Velasquez

2016

25

Nolan Ryan

1978

25

Bieber’s big outing also helped the Cleveland staff as a whole make history. According to MLB stats, they became the first team to see their starters hit more than 10 batters four times in seven starts.

Overall, Bieber has now delivered 14 shutout innings to start the season. He’s sprinkled with seven hits and a walk, which means he has an ERA of 0.00 and a 27 strikeout / step ratio. It is only two starts and nobody knows if the season will be played until its end in order to allow the prize giving. As it stands, however, it’s fair to write that Bieber is behaving like a legitimate candidate for the American League’s Cy Young Award.

Bieber’s success stems above all from two factors: the control of the fastball and his curveball. His control has been on point, as evidenced by his total steps, but control is more than throwing strikes: it’s essentially a mastery of pitch location. It can mean localization on both sides of the plate, as it does, and it can also mean elevation above the hands, or even above the area.

By placing the fastball where he wants it, Bieber is able to set up his breaking ball (and vice versa). On Thursday, he threw 34 curved balls, according to Statcast. Of these 34, six were called strikes and another nine generated puffs. On Bieber’s first start, his curved ball forced an empty swing to nearly 70% of the opposition’s attempts to hit him.

Assuming Bieber stays on schedule, he will make his next start on Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds. At this rate, expect it to be good.

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