Giants

Tyler Beede struggles with command, but leaves Giants in good position in MLB debut

Tyler Beede struggles with command, but leaves Giants in good position in MLB debut

SAN FRANCISCO — When reporters approached at 11 p.m. Tuesday night, Tyler Beede was still in his full Giants uniform. He had not thrown a pitch since 8:30, but Beede knew that facing the Diamondbacks was not his only duty on this night. 

The Beede family has been waiting 24 years for this moment. There were photos that needed to be taken to commemorate the former first-round pick’s MLB debut, and Tyler knew his parents would want him in uniform. 

“It’s not a bad jersey to be wearing,” he added, smiling. “It’s pretty exciting.”

A smile was permanently attached to Beede’s face, and for good reason. He lasted only four innings the first time out, but he held tough and left the rest of the game to his veteran teammates. Andrew McCutchen’s walk-off in the bottom of the ninth gave the Giants a 5-4 win and made sure AT&T Park was rocking as Beede celebrated with teammates and then met his family for photos, and to hand over the baseballs from his first pitch and first career strikeout. This was a night he’ll never forget. 

“It was just a good experience for him to get this out of the way,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I’m sure this is going to help him down the road.”

The Giants are hopeful Beede helps them for years down the road. For now, here’s a look at Night 1. 

FIRST INNING: In his Cactus League debut two years ago, Beede walked three batters in two-thirds of an inning while fighting a surge of adrenaline. He looked calm as he led the Giants onto the field, beginning his career at 7:18 p.m. with a 93 mph fastball to Jarrod Dyson that caught the bottom of the zone for a strike. Dyson grounded out to second later in the at-bat. 

“I was nervous probably prior to the game,” Beede said. “Once I got out there, I settled in. Going through the emotions of the game and battling pitch to pitch, I think I was probably putting too much focus into making perfect pitches as opposed to just making quality pitches.”

That led to command issues that put Beede in a tight spot. He walked Ketel Marte, but pitched backwards to Paul Goldschmidt — slider, 94 mph fastball — to jump ahead 0-2. But then another 94 mph fastball tailed too far over the plate and Goldschmidt bounced it up the middle. Beede went full on A.J. Pollock, and with both runners going, Pollock yanked a down-and-in fastball into the left field corner for a two-run double. 

It appeared the inning would spiral as Pollock took third when Beede forget to check the runner, but the rookie buckled down. He went changeup, fastball, changeup to whiff Alex Avila on three pitches. Chris Owings flied out to right on Beede’s 23rd pitch of the inning. 

“As soon as I got in after the first I said leave them there,” Beede said. “That’s as many as they’re getting.” 

SECOND INNING: Beede has spent much of his time in the minors focusing on getting quicker outs and he dialed up a grounder when he needed it. With a runner on, he buried a 2-2 curveball to Nick Ahmed and got a needed double play. 

“You’ve got Gold Glovers behind you so you want to try to force them to put the ball in play,” he said. “That was the gameplan. There were situations where I was being too fine but in that situation we had to get the groundball and watch those Gold Glovers turn the double play up the middle. A thing of beauty, for sure.”

The first swinging strike came on a changeup to the next batter, opposing pitcher Patrick Corbin, but Beede sprayed two other changeups wide and went too low with two fastballs, walking Corbin. He bounced back, though. On his 42nd pitch of the night, Dyson popped up to second. 

THIRD INNING: This frame kicked off with a changeup, which wasn’t much of a surprise. Beede threw 20 of them, and the pitch generated two of his four swinging strikes. He threw 49 fastballs — topping out at 95 mph — 10 curveballs and eight sliders. 

“We all know he has great stuff,” catcher Buster Posey said. “It’s just a matter of believing in it and trusting his command.”

That four-pitch mix came in handy when Beede ran into another jam. A Giants pitcher can never be blamed for walking Goldschmidt on four pitches, as Beede did with one out, but he compounded that by starting 2-0 on Pollock. Three pitches after a mound visit from pitching coach Curt Young and the entire infield, Beede drilled Pollock. 

But he took advantage of Avila again, striking him out with a changeup that started at the knees and then took a nosedive toward the dirt. A fastball and curve put Chris Owings in a two-strike hole, but he battled back. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Beede froze Owings with an 89 mph slider that caught the inside corner. 

In the bottom of the inning, Beede dug in at the plate for the first time. He was a .204 hitter in the minors and at 6-foot-3, 211 pounds, he certainly has the frame to develop some pop. Corbin was dominant through five innings, though, and Beede struck out. 

FOURTH INNING: The first pitch of this inning was Beede’s 70th, and it looked like he would have a much needed quick one. Two flyouts opened the inning, but Beede walked Corbin for the second time. 

“I don’t like walking the pitcher twice,” he said. “That’s something that’s obviously glaring, but he’s a good hitter so I tried to treat him like any other hitter and make quality pitches to him. Just happened to walk him a couple times.”

As Reyes Moronta started warming up in the bullpen, Dyson shot a fastball into center, bringing Young out for another meeting. Beede once again limited the damage, getting Marte to spin a soft grounder down to third to end the inning. The pitch was Beede’s 87th and final one of the night. He threw 45 strikes and 42 balls. The rest of this night would be up to his teammates. 

Moronta, Cory Gearrin and Tony Watson kept the line moving, and the lineup overcame a brutal start to push runs across on two sacrifice flies, a bases-loaded walk, and a ball that was thrown away on a double steal. In the end, McCutchen walked a team off for the second time in four days. Beede did not get a win or a loss on his record, but he was part of a Giants win. 

“At the end of the day, I kept the team in a position to win and obviously we had an incredible win there,” he said. “There’s a lot I can work on moving forward, but overall I limited damage when I needed to.”

Samardzija, other Giants pitchers need to move on quickly from 15-2 loss

Samardzija, other Giants pitchers need to move on quickly from 15-2 loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ten minutes into his start Wednesday, Jeff Samardzija got a mound visit from manager Bruce Bochy and a member of the training staff. 

His fastball was sitting 89-91 at the time, and given that Samardzija is just two starts removed from a DL stint for a strained pectoral, the concern was understandable. 

"He's fine. We just wanted to check on him at that point," Bochy said. "He said he was fine and as you saw his stuff picked up, which you see sometimes from starting pitchers."

Samardzija did get back to the 93-94 range by the third, which is still a couple ticks from normal for him, but at least isn't concerning. He didn't make it to the fourth, though. A Matt Adams homer put the last three of six runs on his line.

"Just one of those days," Samardzija said. "I've been feeling really good. It just took a little longer today (to get loose). There's really no explanation for it sometimes.

"Obviously it's a little bit of a different script for me right now (coming off the injury). We're going to learn from it and keep getting better and get on to the next one." 

A few Giants need to move on quickly after this one. Josh Osich, coming off a sparkling spring, continued to backslide at the worst possible time. The Giants will need to clear a roster spot for Will Smith next week. Osich was charged with four earned runs. Cory Gearrin walked two of three he faced and cashed in two of Osich's runners. He, too, has fallen down the depth chart a bit.

"They're not on track. O really had some good moments today, lots of swings and misses, but also had trouble getting the ball where he wanted at times," Bochy said. "Cory is battling too much right now instead of going out there and attacking the strike zone. This game is all about confidence and if they get shaken a bit they don't throw the ball with as much conviction."

Bruce Bochy explains why he joined Twitter

Bruce Bochy explains why he joined Twitter

SAN FRANCISCO — In the 19 hours since Bruce Bochy first tweeted* he has picked up 15,000 followers. 

“Is that a lot?” he asked Wednesday morning.

It is, but don't expect many tweets from the 63-year-old manager now also known as @BruceBochy1 (@BruceBochy was taken). Bochy does not plan to send out lineups or respond to your complaint about Buster Posey getting a game off the day after a night game. He will not answer you if you scream about Gorkys Hernandez being in center. He does not plan to join the #BeltWars. 

“I’m not going to be on it a lot,” Bochy said. “I’m going to use it with charities and things like that. I don’t plan to use it every day.”

(*It’s here that we should stop and note that Bochy’s first tweet was sent when the Giants were taking batting practice Tuesday and the manager was standing behind the cage watching. But let’s have fun with it.)

Bochy tweeted “great win tonight” after the Giants beat the Nationals on Tuesday and he promoted an event he is doing with our own Amy Gutierrez at the New Balance store after Wednesday’s game. You can expect similar when he does one of the many charity events that he participates in during off days and before occasional home games. 

Bochy smiled Wednesday when told that close friend Tim Flannery gave him two weeks before he deletes his account. 

“If (followers) tweet bad things I’m going to tweet back ‘love harder,’” he said, referencing Flannery’s own charity work. 

--- Mac Williamson was a late scratch from the lineup a day after a brutal collision with the wall alongside the home bullpen. Bochy said Williamson had “general soreness” and he was officially pulled with neck stiffness. The Giants have not had any recent discussions about moving the bullpen mounds, in part because there's no space left at the ballpark. Although Bochy noted that some of his hitters would gladly tell the team to put it in Triples Alley. 

--- Chris Stratton is back home in Mississippi for the birth of his second child. His wife, Martha Kate, has gone into labor. Stratton is expected back in time to start Saturday’s day game, with Johnny Cueto getting the night game against the Dodgers. 

Roberto Gomez was called up to take Stratton’s spot, since Stratton was put on the paternity list. Gomez likely will stay Saturday as the 26th man for the doubleheader.