CLEVELAND — It has been an exciting week for Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber.
After being a late addition to the American League roster for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game last Friday, Bieber made history when he became only the third player ever to win the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award in his home park, Progressive Field, after throwing a perfect inning in a 4-3 win over the National League.
Bieber took to Instagram late Wednesday delivered a round of “thank yous” to those who made the moment possible.
“Now that I’ve regained the feeling in my limbs, again I wanted to say a sincere thank you to my family, friends and teammates for showing me so much love and support,” Bieber wrote in the caption to a photo of him hoisting the MVP trophy to the delight of the home fans. “For this moment that I will cherish forever, thank you, Cleveland.”
Bieber won the award after throwing a perfect fifth inning and becoming the first Indians pitcher to strike out the side 1-2-3 in the MLB All-Star Game.
On in relief during the top of the fifth inning, Bieber set down the National League with three strikeouts and preserved a 1-0 lead at the time.
As the crowd chanted “Let’s go, Bieber” loudly, he wound up and struck out Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. looking for the final out of the inning.
“It’s incredible,” said the 24-year old Bieber following the All-Star Game. “The city of Cleveland has not just embraced me, but embraced this team for so long. It’s such a good, hard, gritty town. I can’t say enough about how this All-Star Weekend and week has been run. I was talking to some guys and they said it’s one of the better-run All-Star Games and weekends that they’ve been to, and those are guys that have been to three or four, five, six All-Star games.
“I think that means a lot, and I think that’s really special to say about the city of Cleveland. They always have our back, no matter what, even when we were a little bit further down in the standings earlier in the year. Now that we’re making a push at it, you can definitely feel the momentum, especially from the city.”
Bieber and the Indians will look to keep the positive momentum going from posting the best record in baseball in June and early July when they resume the regular season Friday at home against the very team ahead of them in the American League Central Division, the Minnesota Twins.
Bieber enters the second half with an 8-3 record (.727 winning percentage) and 3.45 earned run average over 112.1 innings of work in his 19 appearances, including 18 starts. Already, Bieber has surpassed his previous single-season career high with 141 strikeouts, and should set other personal bests for innings pitched as well as games played and started.