CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians have spent much of the first half of the season looking for a dependable No. 5 starter for their rotation to slot in behind Corey Kluber Jack Doyle Jersey , Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger.
The Indians think they might now have found their No. 5, and he will be on the mound Friday night at Progressive Field against the Detroit Tigers.
He’s 23-year-old right-hander Shane Bieber. A fourth-round pick by the Indians in the 2016 draft out of UC Santa Barbara, Bieber (1-0, 3.97 ERA) will be making his third start for the Indians, which he landed with his strong performance in the minor leagues this year.
In a combined 12 starts at Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, Bieber was 10-5 with a 1.29 ERA. In 76 innings, he struck out 72 and only walked six.
Bieber is a premier strike thrower. In 2017, pitching at three minor league levels, he was 10-5 with a 2.86 ERA. In 173 innings, he had 162 strikeouts and only 10 walks.
Bieber’s last major league start came June 17 Adam Vinatieri Jersey , a 4-1 win over Minnesota, in which he pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up one run, 10 hits, with seven strikeouts and one walk.
“He comes as advertised. He threw a lot of strikes, with one walk. He gave up a lot of hits, but because he didn’t walk anyone, and executed a lot of good pitches with men on base, he came away allowing just one run,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Bieber has made two spot starts for the Indians this year, but after his last one, team officials decided to give Bieber a longer look in the rotation.
“This is the first time he’s pitched for us and not gone back down (to the minors) after he pitched Marvin Harrison Jersey ,” Francona said. “I think settling into a routine at the big-league level will be good for him. To be able to watch guys like (Corey) Kluber during the week will really help. The people in our player development department rave about his temperament, his makeup and his work ethic.”
The Indians come into Friday’s game riding a four-game winning streak in which they have outscored their opposition 28-6. That includes a three-game sweep of the White Sox in which they outscored Chicago 24-5.
Bieber’s mound opponent Friday night will be right-hander Mike Fiers, who has pitched well against Cleveland during his career.
In two starts against the Indians this year, Fiers is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA, having allowed two runs and eight hits in 13 innings with 13 strikeouts and two walks. In six career starts against Cleveland, Fiers is 3-1 with a 2.04 ERA.
Fiers’ last start was a 4-3 Tigers win over the Chicago White Sox on June 15. Fiers worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs and eight hits with four strikeouts and one walk. He did not get the decision.
Although the Tigers are three games below .500 at 36-39, they come into Friday’s game in second place in the American League Central, five games behind the division-leading Indians. Detroit had a five-game winning streak snapped by losing both games of a brief two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday with Cincinnati.
CHICAGO — Jon Lester may be having the best season of his career and the timing couldn’t have been better for the Chicago Cubs.
While the starting rotation has experienced its share of issues and the Cubs have struggled to find consistency, Lester has been more than steady. Lester takes a 10-2 mark into his 17th start of the season Sunday when the Cubs attempt to finish off a three-game sweep of the Minnesta Twins at Wrigley Field.
Lester has won six straight starts and allowed four runs in his five starts in June, which bodes well for a team that won its third straight game after Saturday’s 14-9 back-and-forth victory over the Twins.
Lester threw 119 pitches — a sign that at age 34 he has plenty of good work left in him — two starts back. He had thrown 106 pitches in six innings when manager Joe Maddon elected to keep Lester on the mound.
“At that point Le'Raven Clark Jersey , what’s 15 or 20 more pitches,” Lester told reporters, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Said Maddon: “Jon gave what we needed.”
Lester has provided consistency while fellow starters Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood have struggled and Yu Darvish has battled injury. Lester will attempt to keep rolling Sunday against the Twins, against whom he is 3-4 with a 3.66 ERA in 12 career starts.
The Twins continued to struggle Saturday and lost for the seventh time in their last nine games. For the second straight day, Minnesota blew leads as the Cubs rallied from behind twice before scoring five runs in the seventh inning to snap a 9-9 tie.
Minnesota’s bullpen allowed 10 runs and for the second straight day the Twins were unable to match the Cubs’ offense, which pounded out 20 hits on a day when the temperatures were in the 90s and the heat index registered 107 degrees.
The Twins lost left fielder Eddie Rosario, catcher Bobby Wilson and outfielder Max Kepler during the game to heat illness. Cubs’ center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. also left with cramping because of the conditions.
“When the conditions are like that, you do the best you can to prepare them with nutrition and hydration and all those things, but it overtook three of our guys today T.Y. Hilton Jersey ,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told reporters. “So it was just tough.”
Twins right-hander Lance Lynn will take the mound against a team he is familiar with from his days with the St. Louis Cardinals. Lynn enters Sunday’s start with a 5-6 record and a 4.81 ERA. He allowed five runs (four earned) and struck out eight in his last start against the Chicago White Sox.
Lynn is 6-6 with a 4.06 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) against the Cubs.
Lynn will try to bounce back from an outing in which he had a lead but couldn’t pitch out of trouble in his final inning.
“It’s frustrating, especially with the way things had been going all night. I had eight strikeouts in five and you’ve got 8-9 up, bases are loaded, even though it’s been kind of a funky inning, you want to have that chance,” Lynn told the team’s official website. “But with the way things had unfolded that inning, you get it. We’re trying to win the game.”
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