The last week in MLB was about a starting pitcher in the American League who is on a historic pace, the league implements seven-inning doubleheaders, and the commissioner is committed to the season despite a surge in COVID-19 cases among teams.
Cleveland Indians Staring Pitcher Shane Bieber Continues Historic Pace
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber has started the season strong and made history in his last outing.
Bieber struck out 13 batters against the Minnesota Twins last Thursday and became the only pitcher in the modern era to strike out 13 or more batters in each of his first two starts of a season.
Bieber is also the first American League pitcher to fan 13 or more batters and surrender zero runs in back-to-back starts during a season, per Stats By STATS.
Additionally, Bieber is the first pitcher in AL history to have 13+ strikeouts and 0 runs allowed in back-to-back starts at any point.#OurTribe
— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) July 31, 2020
The 27 strikeouts which Bieber has accumulated through his first two starts have tied a major league record, per a team announcement.
Shane Bieber has 27 strikeouts through his first two starts, tying the Major League record.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) July 31, 2020
The last pitcher to have 27 strikeouts through his first two starts was Karl Spooner in 1954 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Bieber joined a select group on Opening Day as he became one of four pitchers to strike out at least 14 batters in his team’s season-opening game, per Tribeinsider.
Add Shane Bieber to this list !!!!
Thank you @EliasSports !!!! pic.twitter.com/2u3HLFbfuY
— GuardsInsider (@GuardsInsider) July 25, 2020
The right-hander’s impressive start to the 2020 season is not a surprise as he was stellar for the Indians last year.
Bieber compiled a 3.28 ERA in 214 1/3 innings (33 starts) with 259 strikeouts, 40 walks, a 3.32 FIP, and a 1.05 WHIP for the 2019 campaign.
MLB, MLBPA Agree to Seven-Inning Doubleheaders
Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association have agreed to seven-inning doubleheaders, per a confirmation by the league on Friday.
7-inning doubleheader games are now officially a thing this season. pic.twitter.com/dNVlhJiKmD
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 31, 2020
The seven-inning doubleheaders would only be for the 2020 regular season.
The extra-innings rule which places a runner on second would apply to doubleheaders and occur during the eighth inning of doubleheaders.
The idea of seven-inning doubleheaders was part of the negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA.
However, both sides were unable to reach an agreement, and MLB imposed a 60-game season.
The seven-inning doubleheaders are great in a shortened season as it provides a way for teams to complete multiple games and ease the burden on pitchers.
The past week impacted the schedule for several teams as 33 games were postponed, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.
So 33 #MLB games postponed in last week.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 1, 2020
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred Committed to Season Despite COVID-19 Surge
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is not ready to throw the towel on the 2020 regular season.
Though the Marlins are reportedly dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 that has affected 20 people within the organization, and the St. Louis Cardinals had multiple players test positive.
“We are playing,” Manfred said, per Karl Ravech of ESPN.
Comissioner Rob Manfred tells me “We are playing. The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now. We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable.”
— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) August 1, 2020
“The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general, and there is no reason to quit now. We have to be fluid, but it is manageable.”
There was a conference call with team owners on Friday, and they remain hopeful the season can be completed in some fashion, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
There was an MLB owners call yesterday about the Covid crisis, and there’s a strong commitment from Manfred (and owners) to keeping health the priority but also to make this season work — and to play as close to 60 games as possible. To sum up, plug isn’t about to be pulled.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 1, 2020
So, if two teams dealing with multiple players testing positive for COVID-19 is not enough to cancel the season, then it makes you wonder what the breaking point would be?
- Chris is a 29-year old New Jersey native whose favorite sports team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. He previously attended Western New England College to study Sports Management. Chris has been following the Diamondbacks since he was 12. You can find him on Twitter at @aecanada12.
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