Bieber phenomenal as Tribe shuts out Royals to win delayed opener 2-0
BY TIM SHIRER
The saying “good things come to those who wait” might have been taken a little to far this time. 120 days after the Cleveland Indians were scheduled to open the 2020 season, they finally did on Friday night at Progressive Field. Best part of the whole scenario was that the Indians made the presumably 100,000’s of fans watching on TV happy as they defeated the visiting Kansas City Royals 2-0 behind the brilliant pitching of sophomore phenom Shane Bieber.
Bieber made his first opening day start. Cory Kluber had started the last six opening days for the Indians. Kluber was traded to Texas in the offseason and Bieber has become the presumptive ace of one of the most talented starting pitching staffs in all of baseball.
The line for Bieber was eye popping as he gave up four hits and issued only one base on ball while striking out 14 Royals. The 14 strikeouts are an Indians opening day record and is one shy of the MLB Opening Day record. In Bieber’s six innings the Royals could not get anything going and never threatened to score.
Meanwhile the Indians offense did just enough. Royals starter Danny Duffy pitched four and two thirds innings and probably deserved a better fate. He allowed only three hits and issued no base on balls striking out two hitters while giving up the two runs, both earned to take the loss (0-1).
The Indians offense scored the two runs in the fifth inning when the inning began with Jordan Luplow being hit in the upper back by a Duffy pitch. After Domingo Santana popped out in foul territory to Royals first baseman Ryan McBroom, Roberto Perez came to the plate and singled to center field moving Luplow to third base. At that point Royals new manager Mike Matheny, making his Royals debut removed Duffy from the contest and replaced him with right-handed reliever Scott Barlow. Things did not go well for Barlow as he promptly allowed a single to Tribe centerfielder Oscar Mercado, scoring Luplow with the Indians first run of the season. The second run came when the Indians new second baseman Cesar Hernandez came to the plate and doubled to left field driving home Perez, giving the Indians a 2-0 lead, which turned out to be the final score.
The Indians bullpen finished the game in relief of Bieber. Adam Cimber pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Nick Wittgren set up in the eighth inning with a scoreless frame of his own and Brad Hand pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first save on the 2020. With the win Bieber improved to 1-0 and Duffy fell to 0-1.
Perez continued to prove critics who said he would never hit wrong as he started the season 1 for 2 and drew a base on balls. The Tribe tallied only five hits as Francisco Lindor went 0 for 4 in the season debut.
The Tribe and Royals will play game two of the three game series on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. at Progressive Field. The Royals will send righty Brady Singer to the hill. The Indians will counter with their own righthander Mike Clevinger.
POSTED 07/24/2020 23:06