CLEVELAND — Cleveland Indians starting pitchers lead the American League in wins with a 44-23 record, and they’re second with an ERA of 3.39.
Cleveland’s remarkable starting pitching depth will be on display Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field in the finale of a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics. The teams split the first two games, with Oakland winning 6-3 on Saturday to snap Cleveland’s five-game winning streak.
Rookie Shane Bieber will start Sunday for the Indians. In a combined 17 starts for Cleveland and Triple-A Columbus, Bieber is 10-1 with a 1.77 ERA — and he’s the No. 5 starter in the Indians’ rotation.
The No. 3 starter is Carlos Carrasco, a 17-game winner last year when he finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting. The No. 4 starter is Mike Clevinger, who in 38 starts since the beginning of the 2017 season is 18-7 with a 3.07 ERA.
“Good baseball starts with good starting pitching,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Having good starting pitching always enhances your chances to win, and we’ve got five very good starting pitchers.”
Bieber is the newest addition to that rotation, having replaced Josh Tomlin in the No. 5 spot. Like Tomlin, Bieber’s calling card is impeccable control. In his 17 starts between Cleveland and Columbus, Bieber has pitched 107 innings and has 101 strikeouts and 11 walks.
In his five starts with the Indians, Bieber is 4-0 with a 2.97 ERA. His last start was the worst of the five, but he still won the game. On July 3, he was a 6-4 winner over Kansas City, pitching six innings and giving up four runs and nine hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
Sunday will be Bieber’s first career start against Oakland.
The A’s on Sunday will activate left-hander Brett Anderson (0-2, 7.63 ERA) off the disabled list and he will make his first start since May 18. Anderson was removed from that start after one inning because of a sore shoulder and placed on the disabled list the next day. In four starts before the injury, he was 0-2 with a 7.63 ERA.
Anderson will make his first appearance against the Indians since Aug. 27, 2012, when he pitched seven scoreless innings and gave up two hits in a 3-0 win. Only two players in Cleveland’s lineup that day are still with the Indians: Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis.
In four career starts against Cleveland, Anderson is 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA.
The A’s on Saturday made a roster move, putting outfielder Matt Joyce on the 10-day disabled list with a lumbar strain, the second time this season that Joyce has spent time on the DL with the same back condition.
To replace Joyce on the roster, the A’s recalled outfielder Nick Martini from Triple-A. In 73 games with Nashville, Martini was hitting .308 with six home runs and 40 RBIs. This is his third stint with the A’s this year. In the first two, he was 1-for-10 with one RBI in five games.