Somehow, Shane Bieber's start to the 2021 campaign is even better than his historic 2020 season.
By striking out 11 on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox, Bieber became the sixth pitcher ever to record double-digit punchouts in each of his first three starts of a season, joining Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson, among others:
Courtesy: Baseball-Reference Play Index
If Bieber manages to strike out 10 or more in his next start, he will become the only pitcher in major-league history to do so.
Bieber's 2021 dominance follows an incredible 2020 season, during which he was named the unanimous recipient of the AL Cy Young Award. While the right-hander also started that season with 35 Ks through his first three starts, he only recorded eight strikeouts in his third outing.
Getting little run support with the Cleveland Indians, Bieber is now 1-1 on the season, earning his first victory on Tuesday. Over 21 1/3 innings, the All-Star owns a 2.11 ERA and 2.35 FIP.
Last year, his 1.67 ERA and 2.07 FIP over 77 1/3 innings led the majors.