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."

[RELATED: Giants expect Posey back in lineup Wednesday vs. Padres]

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."

How Giants' Kevin Pillar was brilliantly depicted by this local artist


How Giants' Kevin Pillar was brilliantly depicted by this local artist

Watching any pre- or postgame show on location, you'll see fans waving cheer cards behind NBC Sports Bay Area/California broadcasts. On one side "Authentic Fan" is proudly stamped in team colors. 

But on the other side, there's always a treat.

And in this case, a very artistic treat. The back of the cards showcase some local artists' renditions of players, past and present. This time around, it's Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar in a creation by Amanda Mantchev. 

Amanda is a senior graphic designer at NBC Sports Bay Area/California. You follow her other outstanding work on Instagram, here

Before we unveil the cheer card to you, which will be available on Say Hey Tuesday, June 25, when the Giants host the Rockies at Oracle Park, let's give you some of the details on how this masterpiece was created.

"What we were going for this year, was since the team has a new name for the ballpark, and they're trying to get a new team -- a young, youthful moving into the future-ish, you know, so we thought maybe a little bit more of a modern approach," Mantchev told NBC Sports Bay Area. 

Her use of simple shades, cool palettes and clean lines demonstrate the modern theme.

Are you ready? Here you go ...

Mantchev looked at a lot of images of Pillar and wanted to showcase how skilled he was as a batter -- and of course, his sleeve tattoo which is beautifully depicted on the card.

As far as making sure his facial features were on point as well, she admitted that was another portion of the project that was important, but didn't want it to be solely based on what he looked like.

"Instead of just showcasing a headshot -- I think everyone knows what he looks like -- you can find those photos anywhere," she said.

"It's funny you mention that because he has a very distinguished nose [it's true, he has a certain profile]. And yeah, of course he has his beard. I at least wanted to show that."

Movement was also an important factor for the final product since Pillar is known for his movements on defense as well.

"When I think of Kevin, I don't think of him as a face, I think of his body movements. I think of him making catches and stuff like that."

Dialing it back to the color scheme, of all colors that could complement the orange color associated with the Giants ... it was blue. But she didn't want to go full-on blue, for obvious reasons.

"I didn't want to do straight blue because everybody thinks Dodgers or Padres," she explained. "So then I went lighter and found this kind of teal color, or more of an aqua."

You can see the circle-shaped sky painted in this color (the circle reminded Mantchev of a baseball, it was perfect) behind the Pillar animation which also highlighted the San Francisco skyline. 

[RELATED: Pillar emotional on return to Toronto following trade]

Working on this final piece of art, Mantchev said she worked closely with the Giants' art department to ensure even the smallest details were tended to. 

"This is art, and it's supposed to be fun and different and you can do things in art that you can't do in real life, and they understand that," she said.

You can even be on TV with these one-of-a-kind Pillar cheer cards if you want to stop by NBC Sports Bay Area's set for Giants Pregame and Giants Postgame Live at Willie Mays Plaza.

We will be showcasing other cheer cards throughout the season. And if you missed any of them, no problem. You can see it all during the "Battle of the Bay Art Show," an A's and Giants-themed art exhibit during the Bay Bridge Series from Aug. 13-14.

Tyler Beede accomplished big off-field goal one month before first MLB win


Tyler Beede accomplished big off-field goal one month before first MLB win

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Vanderbilt's Class of 2019 gathered on the school's alumni lawn May 10, there was a spot waiting for one of the school's most famous recent students. But Tyler Beede was thousands of miles away.

The right-hander had pitched two relief innings at Coors Field the previous night and would come out of the bullpen four days later against the Toronto Blue Jays as the Giants experimented with an opener for the first time. But like so many others on May 10, Beede officially became a graduate of Vanderbilt University. 

When the Giants took Beede 14th overall out of the pitching factory in 2014, he was just 19 credits short of getting his degree in organizational management. Beede picked classes back up in 2017 and this spring, five weeks before he celebrated his first win in the majors, he got his degree. 

"Ultimately that was a desire of mine to go and finish up as soon as possible," Beede said. "I knew the longer I waited the less I would feel inclined to want to go and take classes. I was glad I was already that close to graduating, and then the rest was just finding time, finding the right situation for me, and then just hammering them out from there."

It's not always easy for a prospect to find that right situation, and not just because it would take some serious self-motivation for any guy in his mid-20s to sign up for classes when he received a $2.6 million signing bonus and was closing in on a big league job. Beede initially planned to go back to Nashville in the fall of 2017, but a groin injury ended that season prematurely and he was sent to the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost innings. 

Beede was excited to be back on a mound, but also bummed that he couldn't go back to Vanderbilt to knock out some classes. He reached out to the school, which does not have online classes, with a simple question: "Is there anything I can do?" Beede was told he could finish up his hours at nearby Arizona State and transfer those over. 

He took three courses while pitching in the Fall League that year and then three more during spring training the next year. While teammates might have been headed to the golf course after games, he was often doing homework. Occasionally he would sit in the clubhouse before a game -- not one he was starting -- and take an online test. 

"In the past I was like, I don't want to focus on anything else except baseball, and then once I got into the routine of spring training and what it was like and what to expect, I knew what kind of time I had," he said. "There is a lot of free time in spring training, especially early on when it's just pitchers and catchers. We're done by like 1 (p.m.) so it gives me time on the back end to do stuff.

"It wasn't ideal to do both (baseball and school) at the same time, but it kind of reminded me of college when I had to do both. It was worth it to have it finished and not be a distraction going forward or something I had to worry about."

Beede said he always knew he wanted to get his degree no matter how his professional career turned out. When the Blue Jays took him with the 21st pick in 2011, he turned down a $2.5 million bonus and went to school, in part because of conversations with family members who told him there was tremendous value in getting a free education at a prestigious school and then pursuing his big league dreams afterward. 

Beede finally appears close to realizing the latter part. Still just 26, he has shown flashes of the potential that twice got him drafted in the first round. Beede has a 6.96 ERA overall as a rookie, but that first win came last week when he struck out seven in six strong innings at Dodger Stadium. The Giants are anxious to see if he can finally lock down a rotation spot and have given him a long leash.  

[RELATED: Report: Giants, Dodgers not ruling out Will Smith trade]

The first win always comes with a souvenir baseball and the scorecard from the game, and when Beede finds a spot for the items in his offseason home, he may need to clear out a bit more room. A breakthrough on the mound kept Beede from flying to Nashville for graduation, but the diploma was sent to his parents in Massachusetts. He told his mom she'll need to mail it to him.

"I'll have that hung up somewhere in my house for sure," Beede said.