The Giants not only won a series against a contending team, they won a season series against a contending team. They’re just 4.5 games back of the second wild card. They’re 21-15 since June 1. They’ve outscored their opponents 183-157. The Giants have been a perfectly good team for over a month. They’ve had a lot of turnover since the beginning of the season, and plenty of guys have taken big steps forward including Tyler Beede. Is it crazy to think that if the Giants had started the season with this roster, they could have been contenders?
Yeah, probably, but they’ve still been fun to watch the past few weeks.
Tyler Beede was coming off his best start of the season in which he went seven innings while only allowing four hits. He only struck out four, but he didn’t walk anyone. For a pitcher who has been undone by base on balls, that was a huge development. His last start was the first time Beede had heavily leaned on the slider.
On Sunday, Beede picked up where he left off. He threw the slider more than any other secondary pitch. What was impressive was that he could throw it to both sides of the plate. He used the backdoor slider to get called strikes to lefties and he threw it down and away to get righties to chase. Of the 22 sliders he threw today, he got four whiffs and seven called strikes.
Beede was asked to try for seven innings to save the bullpen. The bullpen had already been used heavily this series, and the Giants have a double-header tomorrow at Coors. He gave up a third run in an inning he wouldn’t have pitched if the Giants didn’t have to play four games in the next three days, but Beede pitched great today. He struck out seven in 6 2/3, gave up three runs, and again, didn’t walk anyone.
He got to three separate three-ball counts, so his command hasn’t magically been fixed. The slider gives him another tool to get more strikes though. It’s too early to say that the slider was the missing piece of the puzzle for Beede, but these last two starts have been highly encouraging.
Beede also impressed with his bat. In the second, he punched a grounder past Orlando Arcia that Mike Yastrzemski tried to score on from first but was thrown out. In the seventh, Beede knocked in Donovan Solano with a butcher boy off Corbin Burnes. With Eric Thames crashing as hard as he was, I thought it might be a good idea to pull the bat back but didn’t think the Giants would try it with Corbin Burnes throwing 98 mph. Somehow, Beede executed that butcher boy better than the Hound.
Tyler Beede (our pitcher) knocked in the rally starting RBI.— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) July 14, 2019
We the National League. #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/xTnmzSHZTg
Beede’s RBI single was part of a game-deciding rally that was kicked off by Solano’s hustle double. Beede put the Giants ahead and Stephen Vogt put the game away with a double down the line. The Brewers intentionally walked Pablo Sandoval to get to Brandon Crawford. Considering what Brandon Crawford did to Josh Hader on Friday and what he did to Alex Claudio earlier in the game (and Matt Albers’ lack of command) this was a dubious decision. Albers wound up walking Crawford to bring in Belt. Then the Giants ground-attacked their way to two more runs.
Ron Wotus’s decision to send Mike Yastrzemski in the second inning was less an indictment of Wotus’s third base skills—he’s been quite good—and more an indication of how little Wotus appears to trust Brandon Belt right now. Wotus treated the situation as if there were a pitcher in the on-deck circle, and not, you know, the best hitter on the team.
It’s certainly true that Belt hasn’t been the Giants’ best hitter recently. Henry Schulman pointed out that Belt’s OPS has dropped 80 points over the last month. Since June 14, Belt is hitting .205/.327/.273. Still, he’s anything but an automatic out. The on-base percentage is still okay despite the power all but evaporating. He hasn’t been right, but he’s still a left-handed fly ball hitter playing in left-handed fly ball hitter heaven. He wouldn’t even need to hit a ball particularly well to have a good result. Exhibit A:
Kiss it GOODBYE pic.twitter.com/qSDqAOpdwJ— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) July 14, 2019
Belt hit that home run at just 92 mph and a 31-degree launch angle. The expected batting average was only .100.
It took a good relay to nab Yastrzemski, but I don’t know if it took a perfect relay. Ryan Braun just sort of spun and lobbed it in, and Orlando Arcia, a professional baseball player, threw to his intended target.
Braun to Arcia to Yaz ...to Yaz: YES! #ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/tkDivV1SdM— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 14, 2019
Yastrzemski was thrown out easily with the top of the order coming up. There’s nothing wrong with being aggressive on the base paths, but I don’t know if this was the time.
I don’t know if it was the time in the sixth either. Brandon Crawford tried a sneak attack steal of third which almost paid off. I was stunned when he was called out and even more so when replay showed that yes, he was out. If you’re going to try to take third, you need to be absolutely certain you can make it. You’re still in scoring position at second. Heck, with the combination of the lively ball and Miller Park, you’re in scoring position at first.
Neither the Yastrzemski decision nor the Crawford TOOTBLAN affected the outcome of the game, but no one knew the Giants were going to have a six-run inning later in the game.
Evan Longoria left the game with left foot discomfort. That brought in Austin Slater who wasn’t starting today because he has a fever. Slater didn’t look in shape to be playing, so to replace Longoria with him might suggest that Longoria’s injury is serious. That would certainly put a damper on what was otherwise a fine win.
He was traded for Mike Trout.
*Probably* less than an hour until I learn why Mike Trout was pulled, and I'm not telling you anything until I get a hypothetical trade offer from all 29 teams.— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) July 14, 2019