GLENDALE, ARIZ.—Shane Bieber’s spring has been nearly perfect.
Bieber has been a popular pick as a breakout pitcher, and he’s done nothing this spring to convince anyone that that description is unwarranted. On Tuesday night, he had two blemishes, but he turned in yet another strong outing in the Indians’ 4-2 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Cactus League play.
Bieber allowed two runs—both on solo home runs—in five innings to go with six strikeouts. A.J. Pollock took Bieber deep first, and he was followed by Russell Martin, both solo shots coming in the fourth inning.
Aside from that, it was business as usual.
“I felt good,” Bieber said. "I felt like my fastball was coming out pretty good. As far as the other three pitches, not as sharp as they’ve been this spring. I think I’m most pleased I was able to get better as the game went on, especially in that last inning. I felt like I was able to execute those three off-speed pitches a little bit better.”
This is Bieber’s first full spring in big-league camp. He now owns a 1.42 ERA in Cactus League play.
“I didn’t think tonight was his sharpest, which I betcha he probably [didn’t quite have his changeup],” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “And he still got to 80 pitches and gave up a couple runs. He’s mature beyond his years.”
Offensively, catcher Eric Haase belted a two-run home run in the seventh, his second homer of the spring. Hanley Ramirez, contending for a spot as the designated hitter, went 1-for-3 with a single, a deep flyout and a strikeout.
The Indians are trying to get as many looks as possible at Ramirez’s swing before they have to make a decision as it pertains to the Opening Day roster.
“You know, I still think he has his bat speed,” Francona said. “That’s the one thing. It’s a tough decision. There’s no getting around it. You don’t want to run him out there too much because he’s a veteran guy, but you want to try to see as much as you can. We’ve got a few more days.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.