'Ducks' Bieber continues to post zeros

Indians No. 8 prospect fans eight in another scoreless start

Shane Bieber has a 0.46 WHIP and .133 opponents' batting average in two starts this season. (Mark Olson/MiLB.com)

By Michael Avallone / MiLB.com | April 10, 2018 10:54 PM

At some point this season, Shane Bieber will allow a run. That time has not yet come.

The Indians' No. 8 prospect struck out eight over seven scoreless innings as Double-A Akron beat Binghamton, 5-1, on Tuesday night at NYSEG Stadium. Bieber (1-0) has thrown 13 scoreless frames in two starts, yielding six hits and no walks while fanning an Eastern League-leading 17.

"I've been very comfortable with all four of my pitches," the 22-year-old right-hander said. "I haven't thrown all of them as much as I'd like to, but the results have been there and I really can't complain about it. Going all the way back to last season, I've had great command of them. My fastball and slider have been very good and I've used my changeup and curveball effectively when needed. I do want to use those two more from a developmental standpoint, but so far, so good." 

Gameday box score

After allowing two hits over six scoreless frames on Opening Day, the Southern California native worked around a two-out single by No. 25 Mets prospect Patrick Mazeika in the first. He set down the next seven batters until fourth-ranked Peter Alonso led off the fourth with a double. Mazeika followed with a single to put runners at the corners with none out, but Bieber whiffed No. 11 prospect Tomas Nido and induced an inning-ending double play from Kevin Taylor.

"I'm just trying to limit the damage there," Bieber said. "With first and third, nobody out, guys in Double-A usually can get that run in somehow. But I was fortunate enough to get into a two-strike position [on Nido] and buried a slider. I went at the next guy to get that ground ball and, fortunately, things worked out with the DP." 

He retired eight of the last nine batters he faced, six via strikeouts.

Tuesday marked the 27th time in 38 Minor League starts that the UC Santa Barbara product has not issued a free pass. Bieber has walked 12 -- two intentionally -- over 210 1/3 career innings, a rate of 0.51 per nine. 

Video: Akron's Bieber whiffs his eighth batter

"They were real aggressive early in the count," Bieber said of the Rumble Ponies. "They had a first-pitch swinging mentality, as do many of the lineups in this league. A lot of our opponents know that I'll be around the plate on a good night, so I don't blame them for being so aggressive. They did catch on a bit the second time through the order, so [pitching coach] Rigo Beltran and Loopy [catcher Sicnarf Loopstok] altered the plan a little. We doubled up on some off-speed stuff early in the count and started using the fastball later.

"I take a lot of pride [in my control] and I learned that at a very young age. I didn't have overpowering stuff when I was younger and I really didn't start developing everything until recently. So I challenged hitters and made them beat me at my strengths."

MiLB include

Fifth-ranked Indians prospect Willi Castro singled in two runs and Mark Mathias contributed two hits, including a two-run triple in the RubberDucks' four-run sixth. 

Alonso and Mazeika collected four of the Rumble Ponies' five hits. Tim Tebow went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

"Honestly, I was trying to focus only on me," Bieber said of facing Tebow. "I reflected a bit on it afterwards. It was definitely cool, but when I was out there, I knew I just had to focus on myself and executing the game plan."

Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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