Slumping Indians turn to Bieber at Detroit

MLB

The Cleveland Indians need someone to stop their slide. Shane Bieber tops the list of players who can do that.

The Indians (26-23) carry an eight-game losing streak to Detroit on Thursday but they’ll have their ace on the mound.

Bieber was tagged with his first loss this season on Friday despite another quality outing. He held Minnesota to three runs on five hits in seven innings but the Indians’ offense produced just one run.

Bieber (7-1, 1.53 ERA) gave up two homers in that game, ending a streak of five consecutive starts without allowing a long ball.

“I felt good all night,” Bieber said afterward. “It really came down to I made two mistakes, and they were big, and they took advantage of them. They were on one of my better pitches — it wasn’t too great tonight. But they were both on sliders, hanging sliders, just spinning right back into their barrels and into the zone.”

He stymied the Tigers in his first outing against them this season, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out 11 on Aug. 15. He’s 4-1 in five career starts against Detroit with a 1.82 ERA.

Bieber recorded his 100th strikeout of the season in his last start. He reached that mark in just 62 1/3 innings, the lowest number needed to reach 100 Ks since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Whether the team’s regular catcher will be behind the plate in the opener of the four-game series is a big question mark. Roberto Perez sat out Wednesday’s 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs with right shoulder discomfort.

“Today, he’s going to get rested and get treatment,” acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said. “Hopefully he’s ready to go tomorrow. He said he’s available, but we need him healthy for the rest of the way.”

The Detroit Tigers (21-27) will go with their prized rookie, right-hander Casey Mize, on Thursday. He’s still looking for his first major league victory entering his sixth start.

Mize (0-1, 5.85) didn’t allow a hit for the first five innings against the Chicago White Sox in his last outing on Friday. He came out with one out in the sixth after issuing a walk and a double. Both runners ended up scoring.

It showed what the overall top pick in the 2018 draft can do.

“I definitely felt better, just commanding the fastball down in the zone, that was a big focus,” Mize said. “I was able to keep them off balance. I just felt really in control, all my stuff, but just an overview of everything, the command was much better and I felt more like myself. (But) we had a chance to win a game and I didn’t do a good enough job of coming out there and attacking the zone.”

The Tigers shuffled their infield this week, with Niko Goodrum moving from shortstop to second base. He’s not exactly thrilled about it.

“I’d rather be not moving around,” Goodrum said. “But it’s something I can do. It’s something I got in my bag. The biggest thing is to go out and hit and help the team win, wherever I’m playing at.”

–Field Level Media

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