Tyler Beede's growing confidence on display in Giants' win vs. Padres

Tyler Beede's growing confidence on display in Giants' win vs. Padres

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tyler Beede resurrected his career this spring by cutting his repertoire down to three pitches, but on Tuesday, Statcast caught two that fell in between his fastball and changeup. Beede smiled when asked if he was throwing a slider again.

"Thank you for noticing," he said. 

The pitch didn't do any damage, but it tells you a bit about where Beede and the Giants are right now that he even felt comfortable changing it up in a game. The Giants are willing to give their young right-hander a long audition, no matter what the ERA says, and Beede is going into each start with the confidence that he can work to get better, not just try to hold on to a big league job. 

The final line in a 6-5 win over the Padres on Tuesday might not show improvement at first glance: 4 2/3 innings, 4 earned runs. But this might have been Beede's most encouraging start of the season, in large part because of a stretch that shows exactly why the Giants are still so excited about the former first-rounder. 

Beede retired 11 straight after a rough start, seven of the outs coming on strikeouts. He mixed an overpowering fastball with a good curve, and briefly dominated a good lineup without really needing his changeup, which often is his best pitch. 

"It does a lot for me," Beede said. "Coming into this game, I wanted to attack these guys with my stuff. Coming out, I know my stuff plays."

There is work to do, still. Ultimately this game is about recording outs, and while Beede suffered from some bad luck, he didn't help his cause by opening the fifth with a walk as he held a two-run lead. But after a comeback win, the Giants were able to feel a bit better about a young player who hopes to be part of the future here. 

"He just looked determined to not let it get away from him this time, and he did a great job of that," manager Bruce Bochy said. 

Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a homer on the first pitch of the night and the Padres put runners on the corners with one out in the first inning, but Beede got out of the jam and cruised into the fifth. On a rare 85-degree night at Oracle Park, he showed the kind of raw stuff that the Giants don't have elsewhere in their rotation. His fastball averaged 94.6 mph and maxed out at 96.1. He blew a 95 mph heater past Manny Machado to end the third and got Wil Myers, a notorious masher at Oracle Park, on the same pitch. 

Beede used his curveball as his out pitch for five of his seven strikeouts.

"As I was going, I was able to see that the curve was a pitch I could land and use to expand in and out of the zone," he said. "I felt comfortable using the heater to get ahead."

The fastball took center stage at the end. Two infield singles pushed a run across in the fifth, but Beede still had a chance to get back to the dugout with the lead and a shot at his first big league win. 

With two outs, Machado saw 12 pitches, fouling seven of them off. Beede reached back for 96 mph on his 93rd pitch of the night and Machado fouled it straight back. The next 3-2 offering came in at 95, and that, too, was fouled back. A changeup dipped too far inside and Beede's night was done, the bases loaded as the rookie yelled into his glove.  

"I threw the kitchen sink at him," Beede said. "I didn't want to throw him a cookie down the middle. He won that at-bat."

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The Giants trailed a few moments later when the Padres somehow scored two on a grounder back to the mound. But San Francisco rallied with three runs in the seventh. Third base coach Ron Wotus may have been the unlikely star of the sequence. When Evan Longoria rocketed a ball into the left-field corner, Wotus aggressively sent the trail runner, Joe Panik, to the plate. Panik looked like he would be out by 10 feet, but Tatis Jr.'s throw skipped and the run scored. 

"That's aggressive there and it worked out great," Bochy said. "That's a great job by Ronnie."

Giants scout compared Mark McGwire to better Dave Kingman as prospect

Giants scout compared Mark McGwire to better Dave Kingman as prospect

It was clear when watching Mark McGwire at USC that he was set for stardom in the big leagues. McGwire was an eighth-round pick in high school but then dominated for the Trojans. 

When Giants scout George Genovese saw McGwire play in March of 1984, he was blown away.

"This boy has outstanding power," Genovese wrote in his official scouting report. "... I feel he will be a good power hitter as he makes good contact and hits to all field with power. He is a tough out at the plate and it takes a good curve ball or excellent pitch to get him out." 

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As's Matt Kelly notes, Genovese even saw a better version of a former No. 1 overall pick -- Dave Kingman -- in a young McGwire.

"As much power and better contact at the plate than Dave Kingman," Genovese wrote.

McGwire wound up hitting .387 with 32 home runs, 20 doubles and 80 RBI at USC in 1984. And the Giants had a chance to select McGwire with the No. 9 pick in the '84 MLB Draft. Instead, they took outfielder Alan Cockrell, who had nine at-bats in his MLB career and never played for San Francisco.

[RELATED: Why Baer believes 2020 MLB Draft requires 'better scouting']

The A's grabbed McGwire one pick later at No. 10 overall, and he became an instant star. The powerful first baseman hit a then-rookie record 49 homers for the A's in 1987 on his way to winning AL Rookie of the Year. 

McGwire finished his career with 583 long balls. Kingman, who started his career with the Giants and ended it with the A's, hit 442. And Cockrell had two career hits ... none went over the fence.

Giants coaches believe players can get ready for shortened MLB season

Giants coaches believe players can get ready for shortened MLB season

For a few weeks now players have been eyeing the first week of July, hopeful that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association find a compromise that gets the game back on the field sometime around the time fireworks are scheduled to go off.

But every day that passes without a deal is one less day for the staff to potentially get players ready. At some point, that might lead to tension as teams look at the calendar, but for now the Giants still believe they have plenty of time to prepare for a shortened season. 

On last week's "Chalk Talk at Home," pitching coach Andrew Bailey and hitting coach Donnie Ecker said they're confident that Spring Training 2.0 can get their players ready in about three weeks. 

"I think it depends on where these guys are coming in," Bailey said. "I think we can do it in the three-week timespan. We may not be seeing a full workload, 100 pitches or whatever you see. I think that we still have to do some buildup there, but we can definitely get guys ready in that timeframe and be a little bit cautious with back-to-backs and different things and monitor (them). Ideally, the longer the better, for sure, on the pitching side of things."

Ecker said the hitting coaches -- himself, Justin Viele and Dustin Lind -- are looking at a similar timeframe, although they do have more wiggle room. 

"I think we need a lot less time from a physiological standpoint than pitchers do," he said. "The three week (schedule) is kind of a sweet spot for us to get enough live at-bats in."

While it takes some work to get your timing down, the Giants should have more than enough time to get their lineup ready. Buster Posey has often gone into a season with just a couple dozen at-bats under his belt, and the veteran-filled lineup is full of players who won't need much more than that if they're able to play games in their second spring. Pitching machines are so advanced these days that players are able to take unlimited hacks against machine-thrown breaking balls or 100 mph fastballs. Many of the team's veterans have posted clips on Instagram where they're hitting off machines at home. 

It's a bit more complicated for pitchers, but Bailey said he is starting to get calls from players who live in areas that have opened up to the point that you can throw live BP sessions and simulated games against hitters. The analytics staff put together a questionnaire that allows the Giants to track and log throwing programs on a daily basis. 

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Bailey is leaning on over-communicating, and the message from the staff has been to over-prepare if possible. Ideally, the Giants would like their pitchers to come in more stretched out than they normally would, giving them flexibility when games start. 

"We'll just get creative with our staff, our usage and make sure that their workloads are okay and healthy," Bailey said. "I think obviously winning is at the forefront of everybody's mind, but keeping our players healthy for 2020 is a priority of ours as well."

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