Bieber (Again) Slated to Start the Opener for the Indians, Knows Fast Start Critical in Short Season
March 6th the Indians announced that Shane Bieber was going to be the team’s opening day starter when they were scheduled to take on the Detroit Tigers in the season opener on March 26th.
As we all know by now that day never came in terms of playing baseball, and Bieber’s dream of being an opening day starter was at least delayed.
Friday at Progressive Field as the Indians did their first full workout of what’s being called “spring training 2.0,” Bieber stated that he has been told yet again that he will start for the Tribe come opening day the weekend of July 24th to the 26th.
While he had to wait for that dream of being the first man out of the box, he never got discouraged and now is excited to look ahead and get the shortened 60-game 2020 season off to a fast start.
“It means a lot it means the same as it did what, 3-4 months ago, obviously different circumstances,” Bieber said Friday when asked what it means to be the first starter in 2020 for the Tribe.
“I have had to wait a little bit longer in anticipation, but It will mean that much more when it comes.”
Bieber had spent the last few months working out with college teammate Kyle Nelson, who is with the Indians working out at Classic Park in Eastlake as part of the team’s “B” squad.
The pair worked out in Santa Barbara, California at a private school that had a pitcher mound, so for Bieber it was about being on a routine and making sure that he was staying enough in shape to get to this point.
“We have three weeks to figure that out, the way the days line out it probably lines up with him,” Tribe manager Terry Francona said of Bieber starting the opener. “But that’s the general idea, yeah.”
Bieber said that at no point and time did he think that a 2020 season would not take place in Major League Baseball, and that he always felt that somehow the sides would find a way to get back on the field and get some type of season in place.
“Obviously there were a lot of struggles to get to this point, but in the back of my mind there was no way we were not going to play baseball this year,” Bieber said.
“I kinda knew and maybe it was wishful thinking that we’d get this day done, and today came,”
Bieber last season had a breakout year, not only winning 15 games but also taking home the MVP of the July MLB All-Star game at Progressive Field.
This year will be drastically different as there’s not going to be that marathon mentality for the players and coaching staff, and everyone has to get ready for that.
For Bieber, he thinks that it will be fun to have even more emphasis on each game, as now every game is going to mean that much more once the games begin in a few weeks.
“We were ready for the marathon, every game means that much more, it’s magnified on an extra level when it’s down to 60 games,” Bieber said.
“Everybody in this clubhouse and organization knows how important each and every game is, we’re well suited with the rotation and the depth that we have.”
There’s one big advantage that the Indians could have with not just five starters on the team’s roster, but possibly as many as eight.
With health being at a premium in the short season, having more than just five starters could be huge for the Indians if a player goes down, something that Bieber identifies with.
“I think it can be a huge advantage,” Bieber said.
“I think with our rotation and our depth every game matters, we’re stoked, we’re ready and now we just have to go out there and do it.”
Getting off to a fast start for this year seems to be one thing that is going to get talked about a lot. As a team if you put yourself behind the 8-ball it’s going to be that much tougher to go after one of the few postseason spots in the American League.
For the Indians, knowing the task at hand and how important starting fast is will be something it sounds like is emphasized a lot during the next few weeks of training before games begin.
“We are going to try and treat it all the same, hit the ground running, compete, try and get the win,” Bieber said.
“I truly think good things will happen if you keep those aspects at the top of the priority list.”