That’s in all probability not honest, as Shane Bieber isn’t actually doing something he didn’t do final yr. We simply didn’t discover all that a lot as a result of it was a 60-game season in the midst of a pandemic and most of it occurred in Cleveland.
Bieber grew to become the primary pitcher in 127 years to begin the season with 4 begins of 10-plus strikeouts. He’s struck out 48 in 29⅓ innings this season. That’s good for a 41 % Okay-rate. Which is precisely what he managed final yr.
It’s curious that the final time somebody managed this, which was 1893, it was the primary yr after the mound had been moved to its present distance. Humorous as a result of the dialogue of late has been about transferring the mound again a foot to try to create extra motion within the recreation. Bieber’s accomplishment seems like we’ve come again round once more. A mark that hasn’t been reached in 127 years screams of an occasion horizon, does it not?
What makes it extra apparent is what number of pitchers might get near Bieber’s total variety of 48 Ks of their fourth begin. Jacob deGrom has 36 in three begins. Brewers duo Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta have 31 and 30 in three begins, respectively.
The Yankees’ Gerrit Cole has 39 in 4 begins. Jose Berrios is one other who’s rocking a Okay-rate above 40 % to this point this season. Solely Bieber managed it final yr. It’s a protracted season, and perhaps none will keep there. However as wondrous as Bieber’s streak is, there can’t be a clearer illustration of the issue.
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Anyway, Bieber’s new weapon this yr is a slider that he didn’t throw a lot final yr, however is producing a nuclear 63 % swing-and-miss fee, in accordance with Statcast. It’s fairly startling how Statcast can break down his arsenal. You possibly can see from this graphic beneath how Bieber has been busting fastballs up-and-in on the prime of the strike zone, after which darting his slider to the other aspect.
Sticking with MLB, and the Dodgers and Padres accomplished the primary only-NL-series-that-matters yesterday, with the Padres avoiding getting swept with a 5-2 win after three eight-inning runs. All three video games had been drama-filled, with a bit of spice thrown in because of some verbal skirmishes right here and there.
The comparisons to the Pink Sox and Yankees of the early-to-mid 2000s had been onerous to keep away from, however that was a results of each of these groups having the ability to spend more cash on their rosters than anybody else. The Dodgers and Padres standing out from the remainder of the pack is a results of nobody else eager to. It’s not a “rise above” scenario a lot as a “stood round whereas everybody else jumped off” one.
Whereas the video games themselves had been baseball medication for followers, it was onerous to not really feel a bit of wistful that these is likely to be three of the one 19 video games both of those groups play with any juice to them. What are the others? Video games with the Braves and Mets? That’s about it.
However hey, the one recreation the Dodgers misplaced was the one Trevor Bauer began, so there was positively some pleasure available.