Shane Bieber will look to continue his dominance against the Tigers when the Cleveland Guardians play the second game of a four-game series in Detroit on Friday.
The 26-year-old right-hander may not have the same velocity he displayed in previous years, but he still posted a season-high 10 strikeouts when he faced the Tigers on Sunday.
Bieber (1-3, 3.55 ERA) also matched his season high with seven innings and allowed just two runs — but he still wound up with the loss.
Bieber has notched double-digit strikeouts in his last six starts against Detroit, and his total on Sunday was his most since he whiffed 12 Tigers last May 27.
In nine career starts against the Tigers, Bieber is 6-3 with a 2.31 ERA while striking out 86 in 62 1/3 innings.
Bieber’s average four-seamer on Sunday clocked in at just 90.4 mph — several ticks lower than two seasons ago. He is learning how to keep hitters in check without an electric heater.
“Guys pitch with what they have,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “If velocity ticks up or ticks down over the course of the season, you have to pitch with where you are. I think Biebs has a great understanding of that.”
In his latest quality outing against Detroit, Bieber used the tried-and-true formula of throwing first-pitch strikes.
“Enough’s enough,” he told catcher Austin Hedges. “No matter what the philosophy is or the action of the pitch, I need to get ahead of hitters and put us in a better situation to succeed.”
Bieber will be opposed Friday by rookie Alex Faedo (1-1, 3.00 ERA), who will be making his fifth career start. Faedo collected his first major league win on Sunday, holding the Guardians to two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Faedo survived a shaky first inning in which he allowed a run. He prevented further damage in a bases-loaded, one-out scenario.
“He is fearless,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s got some weapons and he’s got some competitiveness, which is good. He’s not afraid. The moment never speeds up too fast for him. He seems always under control. There is a lot to like with him.”
The Guardians won’t have Franmil Reyes available for the series, as he was placed on the 10-day injured list due to right hamstring tightness. Outfielder Oscar Gonzalez was promoted from Triple-A Columbus and had two hits in his major league debut on Thursday.
“He’s not the finished product,” Francona said of Gonzalez. “There (are) going to be mistakes. I just want to make sure it’s out of hustle and trying to do the right thing. I just told him, ‘Get as many good pitches as you can and try to hit them.'”
The Tigers won the series opener 4-3 on Thursday. They have won two straight since losing five of their previous six contests.
Detroit star Miguel Cabrera had three hits and two RBIs, including the game-winning single in the ninth inning. Cabrera raised his season average to .300 with his eighth multi-hit game of the month.
“Miggy has put up such good at-bats,” Hinch said. “That’s a good win for us. Miggy sent everyone home happy.”
–Field Level Media