I got a late start to watching the game tonight so I listened to the top of the first on satellite radio. That tends to only carry the home broadcast, so I heard the Dodgers stats at the start of the game. The Dodgers were something like 43-14 in the 57 home games prior to tonight’s game in LA. Dodgers starters were 20-3. Tonight’s starter, Kenta Maeda, had a 1.69 ERA in five home starts with a 5:1 strikeouts to walk ratio (35:7). They also had the best overall record in baseball.
Meanwhile, Tyler Beede was pitching in just his ninth game, making just his seventh major league start. Winless. An 8.06 ERA. Five home runs allowed in 22.1 innings pitched starting on the road against the team with the fourth-most home runs in the National League.
I say all this to set the scene. Tyler Beede walked five batters and gave up three hits including an absolute blast to Max Muncy in the bottom of the second inning which cut the Giants lead to 2-1. But he still had the best start of his career. A tease for a bright future.
Something to get excited about.
He struck out seven batters, including Cody Bellinger. He also made a bit of history:
Per Stats LLC, Tyler Beede is just the fourth Giant to get his first win at Dodger Stadium. He’s the first to do it since the great @sestes55 in 1996.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 18, 2019
Not only is he the first since Shawn Estes to do this, he’s the only other Giants pitcher 26 years old or younger besides Shawn Estes to pitch at least six innings, allow one run or fewer, and strike out seven or more batters to get a win in Dodger Stadium within his first ten major league starts. That’s a very narrow set of conditions, I’ll grant you, but when you think of the history of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry and consider that at one point, the Giants had a trio of devastating starting pitchers, it doesn’t feel so ridiculous to be that specific.
Madison Bumgarner won at Dodger Stadium in his ninth career game, but his line was far less impressive: 5.2 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), and 3 strikeouts. Tyler Beede did something Bumgarner, Lincecum, and Cain never did and he did it after a tumultuous start to his major league career.
This was the guy who just a month ago looked like he wasn’t going to be angle to wrangle his stuff, who looked like once he was rattled he was toast. Maybe that has something to do with the Stephen Vogt pairing. Not that Buster Posey isn’t an elite catcher and game caller, but there might be something a bit more calming about Vogt back there versus Posey. Maybe Buster Posey just makes Tyler Beede extra nervous — we’ve seen his nerves get to him in every appearance.
He gets behind in the count, he can’t find the zone. 3-2 count? Runners in scoring position? He’ll overthrow that fastball. In his last start, Vogt showed an ability to not look outwardly flummoxed by Beede’s flummox-worthy control. But tonight, like in his last start, he was able to push through and make Dodgers watch fastballs whiz by or swing over the top of curveballs two feet in front of home plate.
Those five walks gave it a style that told you this was a Tyler Beede production. But tonight we didn’t just see his foibles, we saw his strengths, and his very first triumph.
He didn’t do it all by himself, of course — this is baseball. Not only did Stephen Vogt help him out back there, but the Giants’ defense came to play:
That was a rally stopper the Giants sorely needed. They didn’t have a hit after the third inning. Max Muncy added some more red to his ledger by inadvertently stomping on Pablo Sandoval’s hand at the end of that play. The laceration required stitches, so the Giants might soon find their offense without its best hitter (not joking). That could be a problem over these next three games.
Walker Buehler’s the only starting pitcher on the Dodgers who can consistently ramp it up to 95+, but part of the reason why the Giants stalled out after the third inning tonight was because the Dodgers relieved Kenta Maeda (who needed 69 pitches to get through three innings) with high-velocity relievers: Julio Urias, Caleb Ferguson, and Yimi Garcia.
Here’s a quick look at the Giants’ lineup against 95+ mph fastballs heading into tonight’s game:
SFG BA vs. 95 mph+
|Player||Hits / ABs||BA|
|Player||Hits / ABs||BA|
|Donovan Solano||1 for 2||0.500|
|Buster Posey||9 for 20||0.450|
|Tyler Austin||3 for 11||0.273|
|Yangervis Solarte||5 for 14||0.357|
|Joe Panik||7 for 28||0.250|
|Stephen Vogt||3 for 13||0.231|
|Brandon Belt||5 for 25||0.200|
|Evan Longoria||6 for 27||0.222|
|Mac Williamson||1 for 5||0.200|
|Kevin Pillar||7 for 34||0.206|
|Steven Duggar||4 for 25||0.160|
|Brandon Crawford||6 for 30||0.200|
|Gerardo Parra||2 for 14||0.143|
|Mike Yastrzemski||3 for 18||0.167|
|Pablo Sandoval||2 for 22||0.091|
|Alex Dickerson||0 for 1||0.000|
|Aramis Garcia||0 for 1||0.000|
|Connor Joe||0 for 2||0.000|
|Erik Kratz||0 for 4||0.000|
|Mike Gerber||0 for 4||0.000|
That trio of relievers threw 19 pitches 95 mph+. The Giants were able to put three of them in play (Kevin Pillar twice, and Joe Panik once). None of them went for hits. Tonight was a night when the Dodgers’ .348 batting average on 95+ didn’t help them out, although it was one of the few times they’ve faced a Giants pitcher who could throw a fastball that hard.
That’s the power of Tyler Beede. He’s a pitcher built for the modern game.
So, Beede’s stuff, Vogt’s patience, and the Giants’ defense was the formula, right? Let’s not forget about the bullpen. Sam Dyson was great, Tony Watson was a little wobbly, but more undone by Cody Bellinger just flaring a pitch away to left field, and Will Smith recorded his nineteenth consecutive save without drama.
As SB Nation’s sole national baseball writer mentioned before the ninth inning:
Tonight makes 9 out of 10 Dodgers-Giants games this year that have been 1-run games in the 7th inning or later— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) June 18, 2019
Since 2014, the Giants and Dodgers have played 39 games that were decided by one run. With tonight’s 3-2 win, Tyler Beede’s first in the major leagues, the Giants have now won 22.