Cursed with the last name of a mega pop star, for at least this day Shane Bieber owns the headlines after a brilliant 15-strikeout, complete-game shutout of the Orioles on Sunday. Bieber didn’t walk a batter and gave up just five hits in completing the feat.
“I just thought we got completely dominated,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “That was masterful. He worked ahead. He had really good stuff. He had a great breaking ball that we just continued to swing at underneath the zone. We didn’t make any adjustments during the game. And he was just really, really good. We didn’t adjust at all and make it tough on him.”
It’s an exclamation point on what’s been a coming out party for the soon-to-be 24-year-old this season. After showing flashes of his upside last year, Bieber has been stellar through his first 10 outings, posting a 3.22 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 69/13 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings.
In fact, Sunday’s performance came on the heels of one of his worst starts of the year, a loss to the White Sox in which he served up four home runs and five runs in total across 6 1/3 innings. That makes the dominance all the more impressive.
“I was kind of eying it the whole time, especially when I got into a pretty good rhythm in the middle innings,” Bieber said. “And guys like Cookie kept [singing Justin Bieber’s “Baby”] more and more during the game. Things were rolling pretty well and I was kind of eyeing it the whole time.
“I was ready for it.”
“...Ready For It?” is, of course, a Taylor Swift song, but again, on this day, the pop stars can take a backseat to the Indians hurler. He earned it.
Puig Your Friend; Wall, Dirt Are Not
Love him or hate him, Yasiel Puig puts on a show.
The show on Sunday might cost him a few days after Puig suffered a sprained right shoulder while making a fantastic catch in foul territory. In the sixth inning of the loss to the Dodgers, Puig leapt and reached over the short wall in right field, grabbing the Hyun-Jin Ryu fly ball but hitting the wall and falling to the ground awkwardly, spraining the shoulder in the process.
Despite the look and immediate reaction of Puig, who grabbed his shoulder in pain, the team isn’t expecting the injury to require a roster move.
“It’s a good thing we have an off-day tomorrow,” Reds manager David Bell said. “More day to day. It didn’t sound too serious. No mention of [IL].”
If Puig misses a few days it’ll likely mean more time for the duo of Jose Peraza and Derek Dietrich, each of whom takes time away from the other and outfielder Jesse Winker. With Puig out, Winker could slide to right field and one of Peraza or Dietrich could play left, with the other manning second base.
That doesn’t sound like a scenario that will be necessary for very long, though.
“I might take a shot or something to [heal] quicker and see how I feel Tuesday for the game,” Puig said. “If not, I will be back in the lineup Wednesday.”
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The Prince Who Was Promised
Hail the King in the North.
After much wailing and gnashing of teeth following a slow start to his major league career, it turns out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is going to be OK after all. Guerrero Jr. hit his fourth home run of the season in Sunday’s win over the White Sox, upping his line to .235/.325/.441. All four homers have come in the last six games.
“You’re hoping the guy in front gets on because he has a chance to do something every time he comes to the plate,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “It’s fun to have a guy like that in the lineup. … The more the lineup gets hot, the more comfortable he’s going to get, because then he feels less pressure to do stuff. That’s how I see it."
Of course, few were truly worried about the 20-year-old adjusting to major league pitching. And now that he seems to have a bead on it, few may ever have to worry about him again.
“He’s everything that everybody wanted him to be,” Jays starter Trent Thornton said. “He’s an awesome bat, an awesome defender. I think we’re a good-hitting team. We’re going to get hot, we’re going to keep swinging, we’re going to win games. It has been fun these last two starts.”
National League Quick Hits: Javier Baez is considered day-to-day after leaving Sunday's game against the Nationals with a heel contusion. Fantasy owners can breathe a major sigh of relief that the injury wasn't more serious and that the superstar shortstop will be able to avoid a trip to the injured list. Expect to see him back in the Cubs' lineup as early as Monday's series opener against the Phillies. … Hyun-Jin Ryu fired seven shutout frames, extending his scoreless streak to 31 consecutive innings, in a win over the Reds on Sunday. Ryu scattered five hits and struck out five batters over seven stellar frames to improve to 6-1 overall this season. The 32-year-old southpaw owns a major league-leading 1.52 ERA and 0.73 WHIP, while also recording a surreal 59/4 K/BB ratio across nine starts. He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his outings this season. No matter how you slice the stellar results so far, it’s abundantly clear that the oft-injured veteran southpaw is an elite fantasy starter, when healthy. He’ll look to extend his scoreless streak when he faces the Pirates on the road in his next start on Saturday. … Christian Yelich went 1-for-4 with his major league-leading 19th homer of the season in the Brewers’ extra-inning win over the Braves on Sunday. The 27-year-old reigning National League MVP had been held hitless in the first two games of the three-game series, but finally broke through in this one. He owns a surreal .325/.440/.732 triple-slash line with 40 runs scored, 41 RBI and nine steals across 191 plate appearances. … Sandy Alcantara fired a complete-game, two-hit shutout against the Mets on Sunday. The 23-year-old righty needed only 82 pitches to go the distance for his first complete game of his career. It was a timely performance, considering he had allowed four earned runs or more in four of his last six starts. He’ll carry a 4.25 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 36/24 K/BB ratio into his next start against the Nationals on Saturday. … Ryan McMahon went 2-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs in Sunday's 7-5 loss to the Phillies. McMahon burned Jerad Eickhoff with a solo home run in the fourth inning before finishing off his afternoon's work with another solo shot in the sixth inning. The latter home run gave the Rockies a 5-3 lead, but the Phils would promptly come back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the frame to permanently tilt the scoreboard in their favor. For the season, now, McMahon is slashing .260/.347/.442 with five home runs and 17 RBI over the course of 104 at-bats. He has picked up multiple hits in three of his last five games. … Justin Turner (shin) was back in the Dodgers' lineup Sunday. Turner exited Friday's game after fouling a ball off his left shin and didn't play Saturday, but he was obviously feeling well enough to give it a go in this one. Turner had an RBI and a run scored but didn’t have a hit in four at-bats in the win. … Colin Moran went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI to lead the Pirates to a 6-4 win over the Padres on Sunday. Moran didn't win the third base job out of spring but has performed better than Jung Ho Kang and has taken over the everyday duties as such, batting .243/.313/.398 with four homers and 20 RBI in 41 games. … Phillies activated INF/OF Scott Kingery from the 10-day injured list. The 25-year-old missed the last month of action with a strained right hamstring. Kingery made his first career start in center field Sunday, finishing 1-for-3 with a stolen base and a run scored. Between the outfield and third base, Kingery could continue to find semi-regular playing time and could do some pretty interesting things with it.
American League Quick Hits: Astros' manager A.J. Hinch said after Sunday's game that George Springer is considered day-to-day with lower back stiffness. Hinch noted that Springer will not play on Monday and that he contemplated taking him out of Sunday's game even earlier after the superstar outfielder struggled to get loose prior to the game. It sounds like he should be able to avoid a trip to the injured list, which is very welcome news for fantasy owners. Springer is slashing a monstrous .313/.396/.654 with 17 homers, 42 RBI and four stolen bases on the season. … Mike Clevinger (back) could begin a rehab assignment after throwing 2-3 more bullpen sessions this week. Clevinger has seemed to recover ahead of schedule as he works his way back from a right upper back/Teres major muscle strain. He is eligible for activation on June 7, and while it's possible he's not quite ready at that time, it's looking like it could be around then. … Khris Davis (hip) was back in the Athletics' lineup Sunday. Davis had to be scratched from Saturday's lineup with nagging left hip soreness, but he was in the designated hitter spot and batting cleanup Sunday. The game was eventually suspended but his presence in the lineup says a lot about his outlook. … Edwin Encarnacion went 3-for-4 with a three-run home run and two runs scored as the Mariners bested the Twins 7-4 on Sunday. For Encarnacion, the homer was his 13th this year, and he's got 33 RBI and 32 runs scored in 46 games. The 36-year-old hasn't slowed much despite his advanced age, batting .255/.372/.522 overall.