Shane Bieber (2-1, 2.78 ERA) vs. Trevor Williams (1-3, 3.98 ERA)
The Pittsburgh Pirates will try to stop the bleeding on Thursday against the Cleveland Indians. The Indians won the first game 6-3 and then the second 6-1 over the Pirates. It’s the 16th loss of the season for the Pirates and third in a row. Since August 6, the Pirates have won just two games.
There were five postponements from then to now for the Pirates, but it doesn’t excuse their record of 4-16. Bad was expected out of Pittsburgh this season. This bad, though? Probably not, but the Bucs knew they weren’t going to be competitive, even in a 60-game season.
Yesterday it was Aaron Civale day for the Indians. Civale was productive on the bump with just 1 run allowed in 9 innings. He went the distance for the Indians. The Tribe didn’t have to use one member of their bullpen on Wednesday. Good work by Civale, who is one of the catalysts of the most underrated rotation in baseball.
Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale may not sound like brand names, but baseball fans are becoming familiar with them now. If only Corey Kluber was in prime form and in Cleveland still. Kluber broke his arm on a line drive last year and has been trying to make a comeback with the Texas Rangers.
The Indians are making out just fine without Kluber around. The only problem is that these guys are going to want to be paid eventually, and the Indians won’t have enough money to go around for everyone. Passing up on re-signing Kluber was in their best interest. The Indians head into Thursday with a record of 15-9 for a half game deficit behind the Minnesota Twins.
Bieber, who is an American League Cy Young candidate, is scheduled to get the start for the Indians on Thursday. He’s cooled off an inch since striking out 14 pitchers in his 2020 debut, but still pitching effectively. The Pirates are expected to counter with Trevor Williams. Head below for our free Cleveland Indians vs. Pittsburgh Pirates pick for August 20, 2020.
Cleveland Indians vs. Pittsburgh Pirates MLB Baseball Betting Odds:
Cleveland Indians vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Prediction:
Shane Bieber must take everything game by game and can’t look ahead at a Cy Young. He had his worst start of the season against the Chicago White Sox on August 9. Bieber gave up 3 earned runs in 6 innings of work. However, Bieber responded and got right back on track in his next start.
Bieber conceded no runs and just 3 hits through 7 innings against the Detroit Tigers. That may not look like much, but the Tigers have actually been playing fine baseball at the dish in 2020. Overall on the season, Bieber has a 1.30 ERA and 0.72 WHIP through five starts.
The Pirates have been absolutely dreadful at the dish this season. They’re averaging just 3.9 runs per game on the season for 28th in the major leagues. The Pirates have managed to put only 4 runs up on the board in their first two meetings against the Indians in this series.
In their last three outings, the Pirates have recorded 1.66 runs per game. They have to find a way to put runs up on the board, but it’s difficult with a lineup that doesn’t have too much talent. It’s not from a lack of effort, rather a lack of talent.
The one saving grace in this game for the Pirates might be Trevor Williams. Williams has had success against Cleveland previously, though he’s only faced them in 24 at-bats. The Indians are hitting .143 against Williams, but have scored 5 runs with 2 home runs. Williams owns an ERA of 3.98 and 1.23 WHIP for a respectable season thus far.
He’s coming off a mediocre performance on the road against the Reds, as Williams was tagged for 3 earned runs and 7 hits through 5 innings. He was flawless in his first two starts, but up and down since. In what could be a duel against Bieber in the first few innings, I have the Indians pulling away for a win by 2 or more runs on Thursday at PNC Park.