The Cleveland Indians finished the month of April with a perfectly average record of 12-12.
That actually looks fantastic given the way the team struggled to score runs throughout the month.
Shane Bieber was on the mound Friday night against the Chicago White Sox and kept setting records.
Nothing he does is surprising anymore.
The entire month was filled with highs and lows that were enough to have any fan confused about the potential this team holds.
Let’s look at three main takeaways from April.
The Backend of the Bullpen is Elite
Emmanuel Clase, Flaming Cutters. 🔥✂️ pic.twitter.com/wsea48D72v
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 1, 2021
Give us whatever remedy Bryan Shaw used to return to his old ways.
Shaw made his return on a minor league deal and now looks like one of the best set-up guys in baseball.
He logged 10 innings of work in April and allowed one lone earned run.
He also had 11 strikeouts.
Shaw appears to have his velocity back and looks like he did before he left for Colorado a few years back.
But his dominance is only the beginning.
Neither has allowed an earned run and they combined for 34 strikeouts in the month.
Karinchak had 22 by himself in only 10.2 innings!
This 7-8-9 duo is a key reason why the team is still at .500 so far.
The Offense is a Work in Progress
Questions remain elsewhere in the lineup and at several positions in the field.
Bauers faces the most dire situation, as he must be let go if the Indians want to move on.
Chang can still stick around as a utility guy.
Someone like Amed Rosario is another major question mark.
He is batting .179 so far while getting time at shortstop and center field.
Is he even worth the playing time at this point?
May should be a month where changes are made to hopefully boost the offense.
Shane Bieber is the Cy Young Favorite
Shane Bieber has set another MLB record — this time for the most consecutive games with at least 8 strikeouts, as tonight's performance extends his streak to 18 straight games.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) May 1, 2021
Bieber’s main competition for the crown of being the best pitcher in baseball is Jacob deGrom.
The New York Mets ace plays in the National League, meaning Bieber remains a clear favorite for the American League Cy Young Award.
His 68 strikeouts in the month of April is unheard of and he also holds the longest streak for consecutive games with at least eight strikeouts.
He is the ace of the staff and the best news of all is that he is under team control for the near future.
Thus, Indians fans don’t have to worry about him being traded away soon.
A 12-12 record is nothing to be worried about.
May should bring a clearer picture of how talented this team actually is in 2021.
The same is true for the rest of the contenders in the AL Central as well.