Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija continue to heat up as the season progresses, putting up better performances with every outing. But the drop-off in the quality of the arms that follow in the rotation gets steeper with every revolution.
Tyler Beede (L, 3-7, 5.77 ERA) epitomized this for the fifth time in as many starts Wednesday afternoon at Oracle Park, allowing four runs on eight hits over just four innings as the Giants (60-61) fell, 9-5, to the A’s (68-52).
Dating back to July 24, San Francisco is 0-5 in Beede’s starts. He has an 8.49 ERA in that span, allowing 40 hits including seven homers over just 23-1/3 innings of work.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Beede is struggling to maintain focus and confidence. Beede’s batterymate Stephen Vogt said the rookie is having problems repeating his motion. And Beede himself attributed his poor performance not to any issue with focus or confidence but to bad count leverage.
Whatever the cause, the 26-year-old failed to perform a passable impression of a big-league pitcher for the fifth-consecutive star Wednesday, a pattern that wouldn’t have even been allowed to repeat so many times if it weren’t for a lack of depth in the Giants options for starters at the moment.
Bochy said he hasn’t lost faith in Beede, he simply described him as a work in progress:
“The equipment’s there. I know he’s battling it, but that’s why we need to get him to a point where that confidence is there and he’s making his pitches when he has to.”
The A’s scored in each of the first three frames against Beede and he allowed leadoff knocks in three different innings. Matt Chapman tagged him for a two-out, 411-foot solo-shot (26) in the first to take an early lead and Oakland continued to chip away from there.
Beede believes he is getting closer to where he needs to be with each outing, though:
“The stuff’s there, but the attack just wasn’t where I needed to be today just in terms of getting ahead of guys — no walks, but just some bad counts and, and just giving them more chances to put the ball in play with hard contact.”
Stephen Piscotty opened the second inning with a single to left, and with two outs Beede allowed a single to opposing-pitcher Homer Bailey (W, 10-8, 5.22 ERA), giving the right-hander his first RBI in five years.
The A’s added two more in the third when Beede gave up another lead-off hit, this time a double to Robbie Grossman. He then plunked Chapman, his second hit batsman of the afternoon, before allowing a bases-clearing double to Matt Olson.
Vogt said Beede has some of the best stuff he’s ever caught, he just has some flaws to work out with consistency:
“At times he has difficulty repeating his delivery and repeating the pitch, so just eliminating the non-competitive pitches out of the zone and getting back to just driving the ball through the strike zone, that’s really the inconsistency. We’ve talked about it and he’s working at it. No one’s working harder than Tyler is to get more consistency out of his starts.”
The fourth inning represented Beede’s only scoreless frame. And when he gave up a lead-off single to Olson to open the fifth, Bochy finally hooked the troubled right-hander for Sam Coonrod.
Beede said he learns more with every big league experience and he plans to continue to improve going forward:
“I just need to be more consistent. …I’m confident that I’ll turn the corner and I’ll be able to be more consistent from inning-to-inning and outing-to-outing as well. Just another tough one today but I’ll get back to work and be ready to go for the next one.”
It remains to be seen if there will be a “next one” in the near future, though. The Giants are without any sort of reliability coming from three of their five rotation spots, and Beede’s had plenty of rope.
Bochy would not say whether the rookie’s rotation spot was still his own, and in failing to answer it wasn’t the most convincing vote of confidence:
“I don’t want to really discuss that at this point, we talk to coaches, Farhan [Zaidi] and everybody [first]. [Beede’s] a guy that we believe in and we’ll see where we’re at five days from now.”
Previously Bochy mentioned the Giants were considering giving looks to Andy Suárez, Dereck Rodríguez or Logan Webb. The skipper announced after Wednesday’s contest that Rodríguez, who has struggled in 2019 with a 4-6 record and a 5.32 ERA, will take the ball for Shaun Anderson (blister) Thursday in Arizona.
Webb, who started 2019 in rookie ball, has worked his way all the way up to Triple-A Sacramento and across four leagues he has a 3.41 ERA in 63-1/3 innings and is averaging 9.8 strikeouts per nine. He accepted an 80-game suspension in May for testing positive for PED’s earlier this year, which has since been served out.
Suárez opened 2019 in the starting rotation but was evicted after two turns. In his first outing in May, he went six innings allowing just three runs on four hits, but five days later he got shelled for nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits over four innings and lost his job. It was certainly a much shorter leash than Beede has been allowed.
Suárez was ultimately sent to Sacramento and didn’t make it back to the big leagues until a brief yo-yo in mid-July when he made an appearance out of the bullpen allowing three runs on three hits over 1-2/3 innings before going back down to Triple-A.
But he’s been offering his services out of the Giants bullpen again since the beginning of August, and in 7-1/3 innings over six outings he has a 3.68 ERA and eight strikeouts.
Wednesday San Franciscio’s offense could do nothing with Bailey, despite the right-hander’s season-long struggles. Since being traded to the A’s from Kansas City in mid-July, Bailey posted an 8.14 ERA going into Wednesday’s contest, but the 33-year-old righty held San Francisco to two hits through seven innings.
When A’s skipper Bob Melvin hooked Bailey for reliever Joakim Soria in the eighth with a 7-0 lead, though, the Giants unleashed seven innings of frustration.
Brandon Crawford singled to open the frame and Austin Slater drew a walk. On his way to walking Brandon Belt, Soria threw a pair of wild pitches that scored Crawford and moved Slater to the third. But Mike Yastrzemski dispensed with small measures when he came up to the plate and walloped a 410-foot dinger (13) over the Garden in center field for a three-run shot, making it 7-4.
The homer was no rally-killer. Evan Longoria singled to follow and then
Ordinarily, a five-run rally would be quite enough for a team claw its way back into a game, and it almost was. But Giants relievers combined to allow five runs Wednesday afternoon in addition to Beede’s four, including a two-run bomb from Grossman (6) off Travis Bergen in the sixth, and Chapman’s second solo-shot of the afternoon (27) in the ninth off Trevor Gott. So despite a late-inning comeback, nine runs
Vogt said the late-inning noise the Giants were able to make, though not enough to take the win, was encouraging:
“It’s a good bullpen over there, so for us to climb back in and give ourselves a chance — that’s all you could ask for in a game like that. They did a great job of getting us on our heels early, but we were able to string some at-bats together late and make it a game. Tying run on deck, you can’t really be too upset with that.”
The Giants now leave town or a three-city road trip. They’ll open a series Thursday night in Arizona against Diamondbacks southpaw Alex Young (4-2, 3.32 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. and the Giants have yet to announce a probable starter.
After four games in Arizona, the team will fly to Chicago for a three-game set before heading back to there Bay Area for a pair of games in Oakland.
Pillar went 2-for-4 Wednesday extending a hit-streak to eight games. …The Giants placed Pablo Sandoval on the 10-day IL with right elbow inflammation. …