Bieber rewrites record books again with latest dominant outing
On Thursday against the Minnesota Twins, Bieber 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, according to Stats By STATS.
Additionally, the 2019 All-Star Game MVP is the only AL pitcher to rack up 13-plus strikeouts without surrendering a run in back-to-back starts at any point in a campaign.
Bieber also tied a half-century-old record for most strikeouts through the first two starts of a season with 27. It's the most by an American League starter, surpassing Nolan Ryan.
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"I've never been that much of a punch-out pitcher, especially coming up through the minors. The book on me was pitch to contact, this and that," Bieber said postgame, according to The Associated Press. "I've made some adjustments the past couple years and started to see some swings and misses."
The Indians also became the first team with four or more 10-strikeout performances from their starters in the first seven games of a season in the modern era, according to Mandy Bell of MLB.com. That also includes Bieber's first start of the year (14 Ks), Carlos Carrasco's outing against the Kansas City Royals (10 Ks), and Zach Plesac's gem against the Chicago White Sox (11 Ks).
"Obviously we're trying to put up zeroes and get the 'W' first and foremost," Bieber said. "But if you get some strikeouts while you're at it, that's always fun too."
On Opening Day, Bieber became one of four pitchers to record 14 or more strikeouts in a team's season opener. Randy Johnson accomplished the feat twice, making Bieber's the fifth such game.
James Karinchak wound up closing out Thursday's 2-0 victory against the division-rival Twins.