Indians 2, Royals 0
The Cleveland Indians won a brilliantly pitched game by Shane Bieber Friday by a score of 2-0. Starting the 2020 season in this fashion is a nice statement for the Indians, who are vying for the American League Central title.
Shane Bieber Excellent in Season Debut
The aforementioned Shane Bieber was excellent in his season debut. The right-hander went six innings while giving up four hits and one walk. In addition, he struck out 14 Kansas City Royals hitters. Of the 97 pitches Bieber threw, 62 were strikes.
As an American League Cy Young Award candidate, this was a great start to his 2020 story. Bieber broke out in a big way in 2019 and is starting to build off that success, which will only benefit the Indians in the long run.
During tonight’s start, Bieber had his four-seamer working up and down throughout the strike zone. Furthermore, the righty had excellent command of his knuckle curveball. With that pitch, Bieber recorded 13 of the 21 swinging strikes that he had on the night.
Royals Hold Indians Offense Back
While Shane Bieber was brilliant, the Indians did have a bit of a hard time manufacturing runs. Starting in the bottom of the first, third baseman Jose Ramirez hit a double off of Royals left-hander Danny Duffy. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to anything as Francisco Lindor popped out and Carlos Santana struck out to end the inning.
The next hit that Duffy allowed was to DH Franmil Reyes in the second inning. It ended up being a single, but once again the Indians did not capitalize. Fast forward to the bottom of the fifth, when the scoring started for the Tribe.
Jordan Luplow was hit by a pitch before Domingo Santana popped out. That was followed by a single to Roberto Perez. With Luplow at third, Oscar Mercado came up to the plate and hit a single, scoring Luplow for the first run of the season. After that, Cesar Hernandez hit a double to left, scoring Roberto Perez for the second run of the game.
In total, over 28 at-bats the Indians recorded five hits, two RBI, three walks, and three strikeouts. The team left seven men on base and went 2-for-7 in situations with runners in scoring position (RISP).
Royals Offense Couldn’t Produce Anything
On the other side, the Kansas City Royals struggled to score a run the entire game. Following Biebers brilliance, the Indians bullpen came into the game and worked their magic. Adam Cimber, Nick Wittgren, and Brad Hand pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, respectively, all combining for zero hits, zero earned runs, and four strikeouts.
The Royals recorded four hits and two walks in the game. Salvador Perez went 1-for-4. Adalberto Mondesi went 0-for-4 while striking out three times and leaving three men on base. If there was a bright spot, it was second baseman Nicky Lopez, who recorded a hit, walk, and a strikeout.
Switching to the pitching, Danny Duffy went 4 2/3 innings, giving up two hits and two earned runs while striking out two. The bullpen did its job as well, combining for two hits, three walks, and a strikeout over the other 3 2/3 innings.
Greg Holland was back in action for the Royals and had the slider working to his favor. According to Baseball Savant, Holland averaged 85.3 miles per hour on that pitch. Furthermore, right-hander Tyler Zuber made his debut with Kansas City. The 25-year-old is slated to be the team’s closer this year. Last year, he combined for a 1.79 ERA over 55 1/3 innings with an 11.1 K/9 rate and 21 saves between High-A and Double A.
Next up on the docket for the Indians is a Saturday afternoon game against the Royals. First pitch occurs at 4:10 Eastern. Mike Clevinger makes his season debut for the Indians while Brady Singer gets the start for the Royals.
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