John Minchillo/Associated Press
Pitcher Shane Bieber was named the game’s MVP at Progressive Field thanks to his impressive performance in middle relief. He entered the game in the fifth inning and proceeded to strike out Willson Contreras, Ketel Marte and Ronald Acuna Jr. to preserve the Junior Circuit’s 1-0 lead at the time.
There may have been some hometown cooking for Bieber to win the award considering Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo drove in what proved to be the winning run with a solo homer in the seventh inning.
He blasted the first pitch he saw from San Francisco Giants reliever Will Smith to stretch the lead to 4-1, which ended up being critical because Indians pitcher Brad Hand allowed two runs in the eighth inning.
The Rangers appeared to notice the MVP slight:
While Gallo may have been deserving, it also seems fitting that an American League pitcher took home the award. After all, the staff combined to allow a mere five hits against the best hitters the National League has to offer all while striking out 16 in dominant fashion. New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman did his best Bieber impression and struck out the side in the ninth to close the win.
That Bieber can be mentioned alongside Chapman and took home the game’s MVP is all the more remarkable considering he was only named to the team as a replacement for Rangers left-hander Mike Minor.
This is another step in what has been a memorable breakout season for the right-hander. He sports a 3.45 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 141 strikeouts in 112.1 innings and has helped keep the rotation afloat with Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco sidelined.
He will now turn his attention to helping the Indians make up the 5.5 games that separates them from the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central race.