Cleveland Indians pitcher Shane Bieber finished the 2020 season as the league leader in wins, ERA, and strikeouts, becoming the first pitcher to do so since Johan Santana with the Minnesota Twins in 2006.
Bieber compiled eight wins with a 1.63 ERA and fanned 122 batters as the Indians finished 35-25 to take second place in the American League Central and the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
The favorite for the American League Cy Young Award, Bieber made 12 starts and amassed a 0.87 WHIP through 77.1 innings. Per Zack Meisel of The Athletic, he will get the nod in as the Indians take on the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Round on Tuesday—his first playoff appearance.
Bieber was coming off a strong sophomore campaign, in which he led the league in complete games (three) and shutouts (two) while going 15-8 in 33 starts with a 3.28 ERA and 259 strikeouts. He was named an All-Star and finished fourth in voting for the AL Cy Young Award.
Even in a shortened season, Bieber made history.
After striking out 14 on Opening Day, he had the second-longest streak of eight or more strikeouts since 1901, collecting at least eight in his first 12 starts. He earned his 100th strikeout of the season in 62.1 innings to dethrone the Washington Nationals' Max Scherzer as the fastest to do so (63 innings) since 1900, according to Elias Sports Bureau (h/t MLB.com's Mandy Bell).
He also fanned 82 through 50 innings, the most strikeouts for any pitcher in that span, also per Elias. He was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for the first time in August after starting six games with a 1.63 ERA.
But the 25-year-old isn't focusing on the honors, especially with his first playoff appearance looming.
"You know me, I'm not going to get caught up in this stuff," Bieber said, per Bell. "But I guess I would just say [I'm proud of] consistency. It's been nice to be able to go out there and have that consistent confidence going in, day in and day out."