Oakland Athletics vs. Cleveland Guardians Pick & Prediction MARCH 30th 2024

After leading the Cleveland Guardians in victories last season and finishing second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, Tanner Bibee believes he can take his performance to another level this season.

The 25-year-old right-hander is scheduled to make his first start of the season on Saturday afternoon against the host Oakland Athletics.

Cleveland won the season opener 8-0 on Thursday before posting a 6-4 win Friday night in the second game of a four-game series.

Bibee said he worked out with a few major league veterans in the offseason and took their advice on managing his workload in the winter months.

“If you know you’re good enough, you can trust your stuff and eventually get to the next level with experience and time,” Bibee said. “So I think I’m just trying to hone in what I’m good at and try to make that stuff better and just try to make the weaknesses better, not trying to reinvent the wheel.”

While going 10-4 last season with a 2.98 ERA, the 2021 fifth-round draft pick learned to trust his pitches on any given night, even when they weren’t their sharpest.

“I think going up (to the majors), there’s always that little doubt. It’s like, ‘Am I built for this?’ ” Bibee said. “Obviously, the first couple starts showed I can, and then you could work through some bumps in the road and then eventually you get the confidence, you’re like, ‘Yeah, I can do this. Definitely.'”

Bibee looked sharp in his final spring training outing, throwing six shutout innings with one walk and five strikeouts in a 5-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks last Saturday in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Guardians manager Stephen Vogt was impressed with Bibee’s command of the strike zone.

“[He] pounded it,” Vogt said. “He’s getting ahead, finishing guys quickly, really efficient with his pitches. He had everything working for him.”

Left-hander JP Sears is scheduled to start for the A’s on Saturday.

Sears had a three-game win streak in early September in which he faced the Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays and the then-reigning World Series champion Houston Astros and allowed just three earned runs in 17 innings with nine strikeouts and eight walks. He finished the season with a 5-14 record and a 4.54 ERA.

“I still think I’m a better pitcher than last year,” Sears said. “Not that I did poorly, but I got a lot of things to improve on.”

Sears, 28, made two starts against the Guardians last season, most recently on June 22, when he allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings of a 6-1 loss in Cleveland.

J.D. Davis, an eight-year MLB veteran who hit 18 home runs for the San Francisco Giants last season, hit a pair of solo home runs for the A’s in their loss on Friday night.

A’s manager Mark Kotsay said he likes his mix of veterans and young players.

“We have some guys that have won before,” Kotsay said. “This group, we’ve talked about it. They started to play better at the end of the season. I think their expectations of themselves are higher and, all in all, we’ve got a long season ahead of us and we’re going to go to work.”

–Field Level Media

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