The Cleveland Indians began Sunday looking for a sweep of the Seattle Mariners.
Shane Bieber was on the mound and as usual, that meant the team was in good hands.
Instead, he got roughed up during his worst start of the year to the tune of five runs on 10 hits.
This was the first time he allowed more than three earned runs in a game this season.
Bieber’s bad outing capped off a fascinating series from the starting rotation.
A Hot Start With Aaron Civale
Aaron Civale tonight: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 K
He has a 3.17 ERA this season and leads the AL in innings pitched. He retired the final 22 batters he faced tonight.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) June 12, 2021
Friday was a perfect night.
Progressive Field was open to full capacity once again and the Indians took home a 7-0 win.
But the story of the night was Aaron Civale.
He had 11 strikeouts in eight innings of shutout work and retired 22 batters in a row after an eventful first inning.
The right-hander did all that on only 101 pitches as well.
He has emerged as a true sidekick to Bieber and is arguably doing better than the ace at this point in time.
However, Civale has a long way to go to reach Bieber’s level of reputation.
More 11-strikeout nights will help that cause as fans now see Civale’s real potential in a full season of work.
An Utter Disaster Saturday For Triston McKenzie
Oh boy, where to begin.
Triston McKenzie was forced back into the rotation after initially being demoted to work on his control.
Things got so bad Saturday he was pulled after recording only two outs.
The Indians have optioned Triston McKenzie to Triple-A and recalled Ernie Clement.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) June 13, 2021
As always, the hits were not the problem.
It was the fact he allowed four walks before getting out of the first inning.
That is inexcusable and Terry Francona made the right move, as the Indians ultimately ended up winning the game.
The combined bullpen effort only saw three more walks issued over the remainder of the game.
Walking four batters over a full start is one thing.
But doing that in the first inning is something that just won’t fly at any level of professional baseball.
Sunday’s Weird Feeling
Seeing Bieber do poorly is a shocking sight.
Fans are so used to him easily getting eight or more strikeouts and making opposing hitters look foolish.
But he didn’t fool anyone Sunday and allowed 10 hits against one of the weaker offenses in MLB.
This is not some major cause for concern, but it does prove he is indeed human.
Five runs in 5.2 innings of work also isn’t a total disaster of a start.
What the bad start did do is push Civale to the lead in the rotation in terms of ERA.
The offense only scoring two runs did nothing to help and something like a 7-6 victory is not out of the realm of reality for any MLB offense.
Unfortunately, this Indians offense struggles to wake up at times.
That is going to doom any pitcher that takes the mound.