First thing first, I’m pretty much ignoring what was another Tribe bullpen disaster in the bottom of the seventh inning. It’s just too painful.
Shane Bieber made his much anticipated Major League debut and Francisco Lindor and the Indians’ offense slammed their way to a 9-8 win Thursday evening over the Minnesota Twins.
Lindor was amazing. Everybody’s favorite shortstop had four hits and they weren’t cheap ones, with two homers and two doubles on the night. Lindor is on some-kind-of-tear and his second home run, a rocket shot to center field, was the game-winner.
Bieber, who has put up video game numbers in the minor leagues (1.10 ERA over 65 1⁄3 innings with 61 K’s and just 3 BB’s), showcased his plus-plus-plus-plus command and was really sharp early on. The 24-year-old right-hander faced the minimum through three innings and did it quickly, working fast on the mound and wasting no time pounding the strike zone. Bieber flashed a mid-90s fastball with plenty of action and held the Twins scoreless through four innings. Yes, after that start, I had visions of future Cy Young’s for our new friend Shane.
The rookie got into some trouble in the fifth, with Eduardo Escobar doubling and Max Kepler walking to start the frame. Two more singles meant two runs and Bieber’s MLB ERA wasn’t perfect anymore.
After two quick outs in the sixth, Bieber allowed back-to-back home runs to Logan Morrison and Escobar and a single to Kepler and just like that his night was over. Bieber’s final line included allowing eight hits, one walk, and four earned runs, with six strikeouts.
Through all of Bieber’s up’s and down’s, the Tribe’s offense was doing work, jumping on Twins’ starter Jake Odorizzi for three runs in the first. Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso, and Melky Cabrera drove in those early runs, The good guys had a really big fourth inning, plating five runs thanks in part to homers from Lindor and Jose Ramirez. That gave the Tribe a big lead, even when Bieber departed, but yeah, the bullpen thing. Cody Allen did pitch a scoreless last 1 1⁄3 innings for his ninth save, with Tyler Olson earning his first win of the season.
It’s Carlos Carrasco versus Jose Berrios in game two of this four-game series, with first pitch scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.