Rookie right-hander Tyler Beede (L, 3-4, 4.85 ERA) had a setback from earlier improvements in the Giants (52-51) series finale with the Cubs Wednesday afternoon at Oracle Park, allowing 10 hits over 5-2/3 innings including three homers.
And though it was a deficit San Francisco’s offense could not overcome in their 4-1 fall to the Cubs (55-47), it was just their fifth defeat in the last 22 games, a fact that made it much easier to stomach than losses earlier in the season.
Chicago made loud contact all afternoon facing Beede. The three homers he allowed on mislocated fastballs had exit velocities of 102, 105.8 and 106.7 mph. Meanwhile San Francisco bats failed to break through against Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood (ND, 4-1, 4.14 ERA) or Chicago’s bullpen.
But the Giants were neither shelled nor shutout in Wednesday’s matinee. Beede kept his team in the game and though the Giants failed to hit in the clutch, they put together good at-bats.
Beede said being part of a team that’s hot streak has placed them just 2-1/2 games out of the second Wild Card spot and whose Fangraphs playoff odds have climbed from 5.4 percent to 6.9 percent in the last three days alone, makes the loss significantly easier to shrug off:
“We’re certainly playing good ball, and we’re not going to hang our head after a tough loss, we’ll just keep moving.”
He got hit for a run right away in the first inning when Javier Báez sent an inside first-pitch fastball on a 411-foot ride (25) several rows into the left-center field bleachers for the Cubs opening salvo.
Beede said he had to tip his cap to Báez for going in and getting the pitch:
“The fastball to Baez was not where I wanted it to be, but probably in a better location—up, in and off the plate. He’s a talented hitter and can hit those kinds of pitches and so I wouldn’t necessarily call it a mistake but a good swing of the bat.”
The Cubbies added on two more with another Báez-led rally when the shortstop hit a bullet to center with an exit velocity of 109.7-mph that got wedged briefly under the padding below the out-of-town scoreboard. Báez sped around to third, but umpires ruled it a ground rule double. It wouldn’t matter. Kris Bryant came up next and took Beede deep again, putting the Cubs up 3-0.
Albert Almora joined in with a solo shot to left in the fourth and the Giants just couldn’t come back.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the young righty, who matched a career-high with seven strikeouts, put up a strong performance overall, there were just a handful of mistakes and Chicago made him pay for them:
“He had pretty good stuff, those fastballs just didn’t quite get where he wanted and they left the ballpark. That was the difference in the game.”
Beede opened the sixth having allowed no further damage. But with one out he gave up back-to-back singles to Jason Heyward and Robel García. The rookie was able to whiff Almora Jr. but then he walked David Bote, who came in on a substitution for Bryant after he was removed for right knee soreness in the bottom of the fifth. At 105 pitches Bochy decided to send Beede to the showers:
“I think it’s fair to say there were mislocated fastballs that kind of leaked back over the plate. He battled, he got us into the sixth and kept us somewhat in the game but the long ball got him today.”
With the bases loaded and two out, Bochy called on his new long man, Drew Pomeranz, to face Kyle Schwarber and get the Giants out of the jam. Pomeranz won a seven-pitch battle with Schwarber, running up a 3-2 count before coaxing a flyball to center to end the inning and strand the runners.
Pomeranz said the transition from the rotation to the bullpen hasn’t been difficult for him because in the past he’s filled just about every role in relief:
“I take the simplest approach that I can and that’s, ‘Okay, I’m ready when I go in. Okay, let’s make a pitch he can’t hit and just try and stay in good counts.’ Obviously, getting to the 3-2 count—I didn’t really want to do that. But you just gotta trust your stuff and not think about the rest.”
He said despite the difference between starting an inning with a clean slate and coming into a bases loaded situation, his mentality isn’t that different from the one he adopted earler this summer as a starter:
“I’ve been pitching a lot better because I’ve been trying to be aggressive from the first hitter to the last hitter not just turning it up when I need to. That approach keeps me ready for any spot because I know that I have to be ready from the first pitch of the first inning to the last pitch of the last inning.”
San Francisco went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position Wednesday and stranded nine, snapping a three-game winning streak. But despite the struggle to put runs on the board, Stephen Vogt hit his 16th and 17th doubles, going 3-for-4 and knocking in San Francisco’s only run in the third. This season Vogt has hit 23 of his 36 knocks for extra bases, and he said he can’t remember a similar stretch in his career:
“I’m just going up there trying to hit the ball hard. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. I’ve been working really hard to keep my rhythm and timing going in between starts and I’ve been fortunate enough to get some pitches and hit ’em where they’re not in the outfield.”
Even with Vogt’s success, the Cubs bullpen stifled Giants bats in a fashion they failed to do in the previous two contests of the series. When Chatwood was pulled after just four innings Kyle Ryan (3-1, 3.38 ERA) took the wheel and was awarded the win.
As the Giants took their sixth straight series Wednesday they expressed relief at the upcoming day off Thursday. Since resuming baseball after the All Star Break, San Francisco has won 11 of 14 straight games, including a double-header in Colorado and six extra-innings games, totaling 17 additional innings.
Vogt said the team is looking forward to the rest:
“Today was a tough one, but we feel really good going into this off-day. We need this off-day in a bad way. I think it’s going to be big for us and then we’ll go in to San Diego with some good momentum.”
The Giants will have an off-day before heading to San Diego for a three-game series with the Padres starting Friday. Jeff Samardzija (7-8, 4.08 ERA) is scheduled to start in game one but San Diego has yet to announce a pitcher for the 7:10 p.m. game at Petco Park.
Righty reliever Nick Vincent (right pectoralis) threw his first rehab outing with the River Cats Tuesday night, tossing two-innings and allowing two hits with two strikeouts. Fellow bullpen-denizen, southpaw Travis Bergen (left shoulder strain), will make his first rehab appearance with the River Cats Wednesday night. …Anthony Rizzo extended an on-base streak to 23-games, the second longest in the majors. He was ejected in the fifth for just the second time in his career after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Jordan Baker.