In defiance of preseason expectations, 24-year-old right-hander Shane Bieber was the lone member of the Indians‘ rotation to make the All-Star Game in 2019. Thanks to his standout work in the fifth inning, Bieber was named MVP of this year’s Midsummer Classic. 

On Tuesday night in his home ballpark, Bieber was summoned to face Willson Contreras of the Cubs, Ketel Marte of the Diamondbacks, and Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Braves in that fifth inning. He got Contreras looking with a 95-mph fastball, and then he whiffed Marte on a knuckle-curve. That brings us to this full-count slider to Acuña: 

That’s called striking out the side in the All-Star Game, and that lit a fire under the Cleveland crowd. Speaking of which: 


Beyond that memorable moment, Bieber has been absolutely vital to the Indians this season. In 112 1/3 first-half innings, Bieber put up an ERA of 3.45, an FIP of 3.35, and a K/BB ratio of 6.13. Given the losses of Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, Bieber and his 12 quality starts have been stabilizing and essential for the typically bedrock Cleveland rotation. After a slow start to the season, Terry Francona’s club has barged back into contention, and that doesn’t happen without Bieber. 

With an impressive minor-league pedigree and a four-pitch repertoire, the expectation is that Bieber will continue getting big outs and making big starts for Cleveland. In the meantime, he’ll enjoy his historic All-Star Game performance.