KANSAS CITY — To some, having a starter come back at the very end of the season to pitch just six innings before the offseason may not seem beneficial, but to Shane Bieber, it was essential.
Bieber came off the injured list last week to work three perfect frames against the White Sox before getting one more chance to toe the rubber in Thursday’s 6-1 win by the Indians over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. This time, he threw more pitches — 50 to be exact — than his last outing (34), but was still limited to just three frames, allowing one run on four hits.
“I think he needed this going into the offseason,” Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale said. “When you’re talking about the effect he has on this team moving forward and the things he’s accomplished, I think it says something. It kind of sets a standard.”
The right-hander hoped to experience the feeling of being on the rubber at least one more time in 2021 before beginning a long offseason that would mirror the monotony of his rehab progression. Bieber wanted competition. It may not have been much, but it was enough for the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner to get the taste of being Cleveland’s ace once again. Over his two starts, he’s allowed one run in six innings with no walks and four strikeouts.
“Throughout this whole process, that’s kind of the end…