There’s a lot of uncertainty heading into the offseason. We don’t know if Madison Bumgarner will return or who will be managing the team or if Zaidi is going to touch the championship core that’s not likely to bring any championships anytime soon. We can count on a few names returning in 2020 namely Mauricio Dubón, Mike Yastrzemski, and Tyler Beede. What we saw from those three today was nothing short of exciting. They were the difference in what was a tight ballgame before a four-run eighth inning sealed up the win.
2019 didn’t go the way that Tyler Beede wanted it to, but his final start today was a good reminder of why the Giants never took him out of the rotation. Beede’s stuff always looks impressive even as he’s getting torched. It’s not hard to imagine him succeeding or even thriving at the major league level. But his stuff was otherworldly today. Beede needed two pitches to carve through the Rockies lineup: the fastball and the curveball. The fastball darted every which way and the curve made the Rockies look like they had never seen a ball move before.
I don’t know which swing and miss was more impressive: Trevor Story whiffing on a middle-middle bender or Yonathan Daza whiffing on a ball that went to the back stop. Getting someone like Trevor Story to miss that badly on a pitch in his wheelhouse is quite the feat. Any other pitcher would have seen that pitch hit off the Coke bottle. But Tyler Beede disassembled Yonathan Daza molecule by molecule with this curveball. Baseball is a game where the line between success and failure is drawn with millimeters but Beede got Daza to miss by multiple feet.
The baseball could have been the size of a pumpkin and Daza still would have missed it.
Beede was on pace to have his best start of the season. He struck out seven batters out of the 11 he faced. He racked up 10 swinging strikes on 53 pitches. The only batter to reach base was Daza and that’s because he was fooled so badly that he swung at pitch Aramís García couldn’t catch. But Beede’s day and his season came to a premature end when he left the game with an apparent oblique strain.
I suppose if there’s a time to get hurt, the final day of your year is the best time to do it. (Though according to Mike Krukow, that can mess with your golf game). Still, it’s a shame that Beede didn’t get to end his season on his own terms. What he accomplished today should be enough of a high note to carry him through the offseason, but I’m sure he would have liked to see how far he could take the no-hitter and how many strikeouts he could get. Or to, you know, get his ERA under 5.00.
Beede ends his season with a 5.08 ERA, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Grant Brisbee of the Athletic (maybe you’ve heard of him) made the point that this was an especially promising year for someone with an ERA this high. Again, it’s not hard to envision this working. His fastball maxed out at 96.8 mph today and his curve stole the souls of multiple Rockies hitters. Tons of pitchers get by with less.
“Mike Yastrzemski pulled into a tie with Kevin Pillar for the team lead in home runs” is not a sentence I expected to type at the beginning of the season, and yet, here we are. Yastrzemski’s 21st home run of the season went to the deepest part of the yard, the section of the arcade overlooking Triples Alley.
Entering today, Yastrzemski has been worth 2.1 fWAR in 103 games. That’s a perfectly competent season over 162, and it’s more than what the Giants got from the entire outfield across 2017-2018. It’s not just that he can hit tanks like this, but his defense is great, too. There’s a growing list of players I’m excited to watch in 2020, and Yastrzemski might be at the top of it.
I say “might” because Mauricio Dubón offers some fierce competition. Today, Dubón did to some baseballs what Tony Wolters did to his body. He roped a double on the first pitch he saw from Kyle Freeland. Later, he launched his fourth home run of the season. This was the juiced ballsiest home run I remember seeing at Oracle this year—it just barely scraped over the cars—but they all count the same, dang it.
Counting his 20 homers in the minors, that’s 24 in 2019 for Dubón. I will gladly take a rangy middle infielder with that kind of pop, thank you very much.
Dubón wound up a triple short of the cycle. Normally, I wouldn’t care. Cycles are more of an oddity and triples are the hardest leg to get. Being a triple shy of the cycle isn’t worth paying attention to. However, with the Rockies outfield defense, a triple is more likely than you think. The outfield booted no less than 18 balls today, including Kevin Pillar’s triple.
What’s funny is that the Rockies were fielding one of their better outfield configurations. Sam Hilliard, Yonathan Daza, Raimel Tapia, and Garrett Hampson are the Rockies’ best outfielders and they were noticeably bad today. Outfield defense is a little like catcher framing in that it’s hard to notice unless it’s being done particularly well or particularly poorly, and the Rockies stuck out. But what do you expect from a team that ranks dead last in outfield defense? Granted, nearly half of their -44 DRS(!) is Ian Desmond, but if this was the best the Rockies could field, then whoo boy, they got a lot of work to do this offseason.