Shane Bieber’s breakout 2019 season was due in part to him using his curveball more — a pitch that he improved throughout the year.
The Indians’ right-hander credited the Yankees’ new pitching coach, Matt Blake, with the change.
“He was an integral part in me using my curveball more,’’ the All-Star said by phone on Sunday of Blake, who spent the past four seasons with the Indians — including three as the assistant director of player development.
“Matt had a lot of ideas of how to add that to my repertoire and the pitch had a lot to do with the success I had last year,’’ Bieber said. “He worked with me on when to throw it, how to get more spin on it and what counts it was most effective.’’
It was Blake’s ability to help develop Bieber and some of Cleveland’s other young arms that made the 34-year-old stand out.
Bieber’s ties to Blake go back to 2015, when Bieber was still at UC Santa Barbara, pitching for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod summer league, with Blake as the pitching coach.
Though Bieber spent only a few weeks with the team, the connection paid off when he was drafted in the fourth round by the Indians, just as…