He had a hard time working through mistakes, allowing three runs in 5.2 innings, even if just one of those runs was earned. He struggled to put batters away, earning just seven swing-throughs on 88 pitches, and striking out only four of the 23 batters he faced.
And yet, there was a lot to like as well. Specifically the gloriously round “0” next to the “BB” in the box score.
Beede didn’t walk anyone, and that’s surprisingly become a bit of a trend for him.
The walks had long been an issue for Beede. Last year, in AAA, he sported a whopping 6.81 walks per nine innings. That was a good bit higher than at any other point in his career, but emblematic of a trend: the control wasn’t there.
When Beede made his season debut on May 3, the walks came along with him, like a trusty movie sidekick. Everywhere Beede went, the walks followed.
Here are the walk totals for his first nine appearances of the year: 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 2, 5, 3, 3.
Yeesh. It added up to be 28 walks in a mere 37.2 innings, good for a dismal rate of 6.69 free passes per nine innings.
It’s safe to say that no Major League pitcher - especially a starter - can succeed at that clip.
And then it changed. On July 2, Beede pitched seven innings without walking a batter. He followed it up on July 14 with 6.2 innings of no-walk baseball.
In all, he’s made ten starts since that walk-filled beginning to the year. And in those ten starts he’s walked just 11 batters in 54.2 innings.
That’s a slim rate of 1.81 walks per nine innings, a mark that, for perspective, is right in line with Madison Bumgarner’s season, and a fair bit better than Bumgarner’s career mark.
Now, it’s not all peaches and pop rocks. The conventional wisdom that Beede would excel if he could just limit the walks hasn’t yet proved true. He’s given up 13 home runs in that short span, and more hits than innings pitched. His ERA is 4.94 in those 10 relatively walk-free starts.
There’s still work to be done.
But for now, Beede is limiting the free passes, which is something we weren’t sure we’d ever see. Our own Kenny broke down how the slider is helping Beede do so, and you should read that. Kenny is smart and good to read.
We’ll still have to wait and see if Beede can maintain the lack of walks, and, more importantly, if he can parlay them into quality outings. It’s certainly a strong step forward, though.