Giants

Down on the Farm: Beede throws one-hitter on Opening Day, could be headed to the bigs

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Down on the Farm: Beede throws one-hitter on Opening Day, could be headed to the bigs

Two batters, two walks. That’s how Giants top pitching prospect Tyler Beede started off the 2018 season. It was the last thing he wanted after struggling in big league camp this spring. 

Beede was scheduled to start Opening Day for the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats, but due to bad weather in Washington, the Giants sent Beede to San Bernardino to pitch for the San Jose Giants. The 25-year-old’s trip back to Advanced Single-A started with a walk, a pick-off attempt that resulted in an error by first baseman Gio Brusa advancing the runner to second base, and then another walk. A fly out to center brought Beede his first out, and the first of 11 straight batters retired. 

After searching for the strike zone to start the game against the Inland Empire 66ers, Beede settled in with a 12-pitch second inning on a pop out, strikeout and groundout. The third inning was just as smooth with two more groundouts and his second strikeout. Beede kept rolling with a pop out to catcher Jeff Arnold and his third strikeout of the day in the fourth inning before the streak ended on his third walk. But still, Beede was throwing a no-hitter. 

With two outs in the fifth inning, Beede’s no-hit bid ended on a soft line drive to right field that deflected off the glove of a leaping Jalen Miller at second base. The third out of the fifth inning, a groundout, was Beede’s final batter. He finished his first start of the season going five innings, giving up one hit and one earned run on three walks, and struck out four.

Throughout the game, Beede missed low trying to command his fastball. Those in attendance had him throwing 92-95 mph and he even touched 97 mph. While working to find the zone with his fastball, Beede was effective with his curveball, getting batters to roll over on the breaking ball. 

The big question now is, where will Beede make his next start? It certainly won’t be with the San Jose Giants, but it also may not be with the River Cats either. Beede might go from his first start with the San Jose Giants since 2015 to his MLB debut for the San Francisco Giants.

To start the season, the big-league Giants have gone with a four-man rotation as Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija are on the disabled list. The main reason the front office wanted to make sure Beede was on the bump somewhere Thursday, was all because of April 10. That date is Beede’s next start and it could come at AT&T Park against the Arizona Diamondbacks at 7:15 p.m. 

Once again, Beede proved he has a major-league arm in his Opening Day start. At the same time, he battled control issues with his fastball that have hampered him before. The next time he works on honing in on where his heater goes when he toes the rubber, Beede may be in front of a few more Giants fans.

Around The Horn

— The Giants’ No. 2 pitching prospect had a very similar first outing as the team’s No. 1. Andrew Suarez started the season opener for the River Cats and also only allowed one hit, but he walked four batters in four innings. Suarez did finish with four strikeouts, too. 

— It can only get better for the Giants’ first two picks in the 2017 MLB Draft. Heliot Ramos and Jacob Gonzalez combined to go 0-for-8 in their debut for the Augusta GreenJackets. 

— The River Cats’ first four hitters are all outfielders and names that you know by now. Here’s how they did: Steven Duggar (1-for-4, 2B, 2 Ks), Austin Slater (2-for-4, 2B), Chris Shaw (1-for-4, 2B, 1 K), Mac Williamson (1-for-3, 1 K).

Could Madison Bumgarner's bad road stats hurt him in MLB free agency?

Could Madison Bumgarner's bad road stats hurt him in MLB free agency?

Madison Bumgarner is entering free agency at a curious time in his career. The longtime Giants ace has built a legendary reputation, but plenty of question marks also surround the 30-year-old.

Bumgarner proved he's still a workhorse after missing time the previous two seasons with freak injuries. His 34 starts were tied for the MLB lead, and his 207 2/3 innings pitched ranked second in the NL.

But while looking at Bumgarner's stats from this past season, one thing stands out that could hurt him in free agency and actually help the Giants if they want to bring back the left-hander.

MadBum's home-road splits were staggering in 2019. He was a completely different pitcher in front of the home crowd at Oracle Park, compared to pitching away from San Francisco.

Here are Bumgarner's home stats this past season, compared to when he pitched on the road.

Home: 19 GS, 6-2, 2.93 ERA, 122 2/3 IP, 40 ER, 15 HR, 120 SO, 21 BB, 0.93 WHIP, 5.71 SO/W
Away: 15 GS, 3-7, 5.29 ERA, 85 IP, 50 ER, 15 HR, 83 SO, 22 BB, 1.41 WHIP, 3.77 SO/W

Oracle Park is known as a pitcher's dream. In fact, the Giants' home park was the least favorable for offenses this season by Park Factors, per ESPN. The 11-year veteran used that his advantage, but that luxury didn't follow him on the road.

Bumgarner allowed the same amount of homers in four fewer road games as he did at home. He also walked one more batter and allowed five more hits -- 98 on the road, compared to 93 at home. For someone with a lot of mileage on his arm and his fastball declining in velocity, that's certainly alarming.

[RELATED: Astros call possible Giants target Cole 'West Coast guy']

As a pitcher who's never tested the open market and has spent his entire career in a pitcher's paradise, these numbers will be looked at closely by front offices around the league this offseason.

Bumgarner figures to join Gerrit Cole, among others, as the most coveted starting pitchers in free agency. So, while his road numbers could help the Giants in keeping him in San Francisco, they also could prevent the veteran from signing the hefty contract he likely desires.

Alex Dickerson's bright future with Giants clouded by injury concerns

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Alex Dickerson's bright future with Giants clouded by injury concerns

SAN FRANCISCO -- Once he hires a manager and general manager, Farhan Zaidi will turn to the heavy lifting. The main goal this offseason is to make the Giants lineup more competitive, particularly at home. It would be a lot easier to do that if the Giants knew exactly what they could count on from a midseason acquisition. 

Alex Dickerson changed the course of the season when he joined the Giants at Chase Field in late June against the Diamondbacks, bringing left-handed thunder to the lineup and life to the dugout as a struggling team briefly put it all together with a memorable July run. But Dickerson's season ended up going a familiar route.

He was available to Zaidi only because he had been unable to stay available for the Padres, and an oblique injury wrecked Dickerson's second half. 

That didn't leave a bad taste in his mouth, though. As Dickerson stood in front of his locker the final week of the season, he pointed out that he didn't play an inning in the big leagues the previous two seasons. 

"I just wanted to get out and compete again, and I knew there were going to be ups and downs," he said. 

The highs were game-changers for the Giants. Dickerson drove in six runs in his Giants debut and didn't slow down until he was forced to the Injured List the first week of August. In 30 games over that stretch, he hit .386 with six homers, 10 doubles, 23 RBI and a 1.222 OPS. The Giants went 20-10 when he was in the lineup. 

That's certainly not sustainable, but nothing about what Dickerson was doing looked particularly flukey, either. He has always flashed power and he showed good plate discipline and a short swing that first month. 

The oblique injury put a halt to all that, and when Dickerson returned, it was touch-and-go the rest of the way. He never felt quite comfortable, hitting .164 with three extra-base hits over his final 67 at-bats, which were scattered because he was able to start only 14 times the final six weeks. 

Looking back, Dickerson feels he returned earlier than he should have, but he has no regrets because the Giants were trying to stay in the race. He said his swing got out of whack and he was never able to find it again because he didn't go through a normal rehab process. 

There were positives, though. Dickerson's surgically-repaired back and elbow were not an issue, and he plans to be aggressive in attacking the oblique pain this offseason. Dickerson said he will do additional research and talk to as many experts as he can in an attempt to increase his core mobility and make sure the oblique pain does not return. For the first time in a long time, he's not rehabbing going into the offseason. That's a comforting feeling. 

"It'll just be a normal offseason and building up and getting in shape to hopefully play a full season next year," he said. 

[RELATED: Watch Giants prospect get ejected on call by robot ump]

Given Dickerson's history -- he has never played more than 84 games -- the Giants can't count on a full year. But they're hopeful that Dickerson, who is arbitration-eligible and a lock to return, can be part of the solution. They can manage his health as long as that bat is still helping win games. 

"With the impact potential he showed, he's going to play as much as his body will allow," Zaidi said.