ORACLE PARK — Over his first four starts on the season, Tyler Beede allowed 17 earned runs in 18 innings. After that, he settled in with a string of solid outings that showed why he was, at one time, considered one of San Francisco’s top two prospects.
Over the last six starts, though, with an ERA over eight and a propensity to give up the long ball, Beede became one of the main reasons for the Giants falling further back in the race for the second National League wild card.
On Monday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Beede found the consistency that had eluded him, but an error, a wild pitch and a bleeder in the sixth tagged him with the 6-4 loss. San Francisco’s offense didn’t do Beede any favors, squandering three rallies despite three Arizona errors as the Giants fell under .500 and dropping to five games back of the playoffs.
“He should feel good about this outing,” Bochy said. ” Thought he had all-around better stuff, command and looked very composed up there.”
Over six starts in the middle of his first full season in the big leagues, Beede posted a 2.68 ERA, a .199 batting average against and 29 strikeouts in 37 innings to just 12 walks. Then, over his next six, he went 0-4 with a ghastly 8.23 ERA, allowing 11 home runs in 27 1/3 innings. Still, he struck out 30 and walked 10. The stuff was there, but the command, not so much. In his bullpen this week, he focused on a smooth, effortless, relaxed motion.
On Monday, Beede faced 24 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of them, issuing no walks and allowing just six hits — none of them well-struck. After allowing the first two men to reach in the second, he retired 13 of the next 14 men he faced, starting with a key 5-4-3 double play grounder from Nick Ahmed.
“When I’m in better counts, it’s usually a better outcome,” Beede said.
— Ryan Gorcey (@RyanGorcey) August 27, 2019
That stretch included a bit of self-preservation. In the fifth, Beede threw a 94-mph fastball on a 2-0 count to Ahmed and got a 106.2-mph liner right back at his head. Beede calmly gloved it for the first out, then fanned Kelly and Young to end the inning.
“I felt like I made the conscious decision to move my glove there,” Beede said. “But the ball probably caught me, looking back at it.”
Tied at 1-1 in the fifth, Beede had his second heart attack of the night when he had to leap out of the way of a 1-2 slider at his back knee.
“Got to keep your head on a swivel, and your feet,” said Beede, who then proceeded to strike out trying to get a bunt down. The Giants did get men at the corners and two outs, but Buster Posey struck out looking to end the inning. It would be the first of two fizzled Giants rallies.
In the sixth, the Giants (65-66) got a run on four singles, but Abiatal Avelino, after freezing on a hard-hit single by Brandon Crawford, blew through a Ron Wotus stop sign at third, and was hosed at the plate. Donovan Solano struck out looking with the bases loaded to end the frame.
“He’s like a wild horse out there,” Bochy said of Avelino. “He’s playing hard.”
In between those two missed opportunities, Evan Longoria — playing second in a shift — couldn’t field a grounder by Escobar cleanly in the top of the sixth, and threw late to first. A single up the middle by Walker put men at the corners. Then, a 1-1 spiked curve from Beede skipped away from Posey to bring home the go-ahead run, and a slow groundball single to left by Flores brought home another, chasing Beede. Despite the late trouble, only one of the three runs he allowed was earned.
“I look back over some starts — and even today — just too many pitches over the middle,” Beede said. “They’re putting the ball in play and getting hits, so the more that I can stay on the corners and get ahead, I think obviously with the stuff that I have, there will be more success.”
Trevor Gott — who turned 27 on Monday — came on in the seventh and allowed three men to reach, shaking his arm between pitches and finally leaving with forearm tightness. He spent time on the injured list with a forearm strain early in the season, but had gone on to become a dependable mid-inning arm, with a 4.05 ERA, a 3.04 FIP and 56 strikeouts in 52 innings. He’ll head for diagnostics and be down for several days.
Shaun Anderson allowed a two-run single to Escobar before getting Walker to fly out to center, closing the book on Gott. He then allowed a pinch-hit solo homer to Adam Jones in the eighth.
San Francisco made things interesting thanks to a defensive circus in the ninth, getting two men aboard with no outs thanks to a strike three wild pitch and a botched double play turn at second. After a ball hit to the wall in left center by Posey, a sac fly to deep left center by Longoria plated Scooter Gennett, and a Kevin Pillar double off the glove of a diving Josh Rojas in left in left added another, but pinch-hitter Mike Yastrzemski struck out to end the game.
Crawford went 3-for-4, making him 12-for-28 (.429) in his last eight games.
Monday was Avelino’s first big league game in left. He’s played just seven games there between the minors and the Dominican Winter League in his professional career. He drove home his first career RBI in the sixth.
Posey now has just two hits in his las 26 at-bats, and has struck out four times in a game twice in his last 23 starts. Asked about whether he was contemplating moving the former MVP out of the three-hole, Bochy said he’s sticking with his former All-Star catcher.
“It’s been asked a few times,” Bochy said. “That ball just missed going out. These guys are our guys. We’ve moved it around a little bit … He still he’s such a good hitter. He’s had a couple you know games here where it hasn’t gone well, but two nights ago, he squared up on a ball every at-bat. These guys are who we will win with and and I’m staying with them.”