Giants

After frustrating season, Tyler Beede tells why he's 'real confident' for 2018

beede-ap.jpg
AP

After frustrating season, Tyler Beede tells why he's 'real confident' for 2018

A large group of the best prospects in baseball who are on the verge of making the major leagues, spent the weekend learning how to enjoy successful careers with more than their athletic abilities at the annual Rookie Career Development Program at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, VA. Among those invited was Tyler Beede, the Giants' top pitching prospect.

"It's great just to be a sponge, to learn things and implement them into my career on and off the field," Beede told MLB Pipeline. "It's been awesome and I've learned so much since I've been here." 

Staying in the moment is never easy for a prospect, especially those so close to earning a call-up. Beede acknowledged he dealt with that mentally during an up-and-down year with the Giants' Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats in 2017. 

"I think the whole year I was sort of just anticipating the phone call," Beede said. "If I had a good start sittin' there by the phone, waitin' for a phone call and that sort of got in my head.

"I think I needed to have a new perspective of why I was playing, my routine, my mindset, and I think that injury kind of put me in a new state of mind where don't take for granted where you're at. You're a phone call away and it's frustrating you got hurt on the verge of being called up, but it's an opportunity to get better, to take each start as it is."

Warming up for his start in July, Beede suffered a groin strain and never returned to the mound for Sacramento. At the time of the injury, he was coming off one of his best starts of the year, going seven strong with no earned runs, five strikeouts and only one walk. He ended his season with River Cats posting a 6-7 record with a career-high 4.79 ERA over 19 starts. 

Beede was back on the hill for the Arizona Fall League and proved why he's the Giants' highest regarded arm in the minors when healthy. After only 109 innings pitched in his injury-shortened regular season, Beeded added 16 more in the AFL. He shook off the rust after a shaky first start and then flashed his future potential. 

In Beede's final three starts, he compiled a 1.93 ERA over 14 innings to go along with 10 strikeouts to one walk. 

"Being able to pitch in the Fall League after coming off the injury, getting healthy and sort of building my confidence back, tweaking some things mechanically and in my routine allowed me to feel more confident," Beede said. "Going into 2018, I feel really good, real confident with what I'm doing."

With the Giants' trade of Matt Moore, Beede, 24, is expected to compete with several others in spring training for the Giants' fifth spot in the starting rotation. 

Giants notes: Bruce Bochy praises fight despite loss to A's

Giants notes: Bruce Bochy praises fight despite loss to A's

OAKLAND — After off days, Bruce Bochy occasionally admits that he spent his free hours watching more baseball. He’s a fan of the game, whether he’s managing or not. On Saturday night, he was able to appreciate a game played well, even if it didn’t come with a win. 

Bochy mentioned repeatedly that he appreciated how hard the Giants fought despite the fact that they lost 4-3 in extra innings. They appeared to be done about an hour earlier when Alen Hanson struck out, but the third strike was wild and Hanson reached with two outs in the ninth. He scored the tying run on Hunter Pence’s double into the bullpen that came with some chair controversy. 

“That’s what speed does,” Bochy said. “Hanson was flying and scored easily.”

The Giants did a lot of good things. The bullpen was dominant after Madison Bumgarner lost his command. Brandon Belt hit a homer. Pence had his first three-hit game of the season. Brandon Crawford made two incredible catches on pop-ups. It didn’t lead to a win.

“That was a great ballgame,” Bochy said. “You hate to say that when you lose, but these guys fought hard.”

—- Belt was hitless in 18 at-bats when he took Trevor Cahill deep. He snapped a streak of 63 at-bats without a homer.

—- The Giants have started switching their shifts this season, with Crawford and the third baseman swapping positions in certain counts so that Crawford can patrol an entire side of the infield. It paid off in the sixth. Matt Olson hit a pop-up toward the bullpen and Crawford took off on a dead sprint.

He snagged the ball about 150 feet from where he started. According to Statcast, Crawford reached a sprint speed of 28.8 feet per second, his fastest sprint of the season on any play.

In the 11th, Crawford went a lot way into right-center for another eye-popping grab. That one saved Hanson, who had missed two earlier pop-ups. 

—- Steven Duggar struck out in nearly a third of his at-bats in the minors this season, and we’re starting to see some of that up here. Duggar struck out twice in the series opener and twice Saturday. He has at least one strikeout in every game he has played since a promotion, and double-digit strikeouts in five of his eight starts. 

—- Evan Longoria (fractured finger) was hitless in four at-bats in his second rehab game. He’s 2-for-7 in two games and could play nine innings Sunday in a bid to speed things up. 

—- It’s not quite Scoreboard Watching Season, but… you’re always watching the team atop your division. The Dodgers lost 4-2 to the Brewers, who got two shutout innings from Josh Hader. The controversial reliever’s first road appearance will come Thursday in San Francisco, by the way. 

 

Madison Bumgarner loses feel for strike zone in 'weird situation'

Madison Bumgarner loses feel for strike zone in 'weird situation'

OAKLAND — For the first time since April 16, 2015, Madison Bumgarner did not complete five innings. He did not get hurt. He did not really get rocked, either. He just lost the strike zone during a strange sequence that even he couldn’t really explain after having a couple hours to think about it. 

Bumgarner walked five of the final seven batters he faced, including four of five in the fifth inning, and Bruce Bochy had no choice but to come out and get his ace. The Giants would go on to lose 4-3 in the 11th inning, but they probably didn’t even expect to be around that long given how the fifth unfolded. 

Bumgarner had walked two batters with the bases loaded in all his starts prior to this one. He walked back-to-back A’s with the bases loaded in the fifth. Sam Dyson got him out of the jam, but enough damage had been done that the Giants weren’t able to put this one away in nine innings, despite allowing just two hits to that point. 

Asked if he felt as off as he looked, Bumgarner paused. 

“Yes and no, I guess,” he said. “The first four innings I was cruising, pretty much. In the fifth I just couldn’t find the zone. I was trying to throw strikes. I wasn’t trying to pitch to corners… It was a weird situation to just kind of lose your feel for a minute.”

Bumgarner is maniacal about his mechanics, and he said he already had ruled out any issue there. His velocity was fine, so there was little reason for bigger-picture concern. It was just an odd stretch.

“That’s unlike Bum,” Bochy said. “But it happens occasionally.”

A night like this had never happened to Bumgarner before. He walked a career-high six batters. Bumgarner wasn’t particularly sharp from the start, missing his spots repeatedly even on pitches that were called strikes. Several others leaked from corners to the heart of the plate, but he escaped disaster until the fifth. 

A walk of Matt Olson and Matt Chapman's bloop single to right put the A’s in business. Bumgarner loaded the bases by walking Chad Pinder. The bullpen didn’t stir, but a few moments later there was action. Bumgarner went 3-2 on Josh Phegley and just missed with a fastball inside. Dyson started to warm up. Bumgarner then went 3-2 on Marcus Semien and missed with a cutter outside that never scared the plate. Dyson took over from there. 

“I just lost the feel there there in the fifth,” Bumgarner said. “I just couldn’t throw strikes. That’s it.”

That meant he couldn’t stick around as long as he normally does. Bumgarner had completed five innings in a franchise-record 89 consecutive starts. That was the longest active streak in the big leagues. He reacted harshly a few weeks back when a reporter mentioned records. This time, he admitted this particular run meant something, if only because of what it represents. 

“The whole idea is going deep into games,” he said.

For once, Bumgarner wasn’t able to do so.