Making Clayton Kershaw look bad is some short-term enjoyment the Giants can salvage from the end of this season.
Their young pitchers gave the Giants some long-term things to ponder Saturday.
Tyler Beede had his best start in a month and a half, Shaun Anderson and many tryout relievers dazzled out of the pen and the Giants held on, 1-0, taking the first two games at Dodger Stadium.
If the playoffs aren’t in order, fans surely would appreciate a sweep of the rivals.
It started with Beede, whom the Giants have stuck with – even as his inability to pull up from his nosedive was felt in the wild-card standings – and he was able to escape jams that, earlier this season, would have knocked him from the game.
Beede survived five difficult innings, allowing four hits, three walks and no runs, pitching his best when so often he folded: high-pressure situations.
The dangers began in the second, when Beede got into some trouble but was rescued by his defense twice. With two on – both walks – first Kike Hernandez lined a shot to left-center that Kevin Pillar ran down at the wall. The next batter, Will Smith, slammed what looked to be extra bases down the third-base line, but Evan Longoria dove and kept the ball in the infield. Beede then struck out Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin with the bases loaded to escape danger.
Beede floated until the fifth inning, with the Giants up 1-0 (on a first-inning, bases-loaded groundout from Pillar, his team-leading 80th run batted in of the season). Two singles and a two-out walk to Justin Turner loaded the bases for Cody Bellinger, the Giants’ bullpen options ready and Beede, who so often has succumbed to the big inning, at 76 pitches. Bruce Bochy looked at his relievers. He looked at his starter. And in a season in which the results virtually do not matter, he wanted to see what the 24-year-old rookie could do.
After Beede’s first pitch to Bellinger, a very high fastball, Curt Young visited him. Beede got into a 2-0 hole before battling back, eventually getting Bellinger on a fly out on an outside fastball, walking off with his best appearance since July 19, when he blanked the Mets for eight innings. In between these starts, Beede posted a 7.05 ERA over eight starts, all Giants losses.
The good vibes for the future did not leave when Beede did. Anderson had his best bullpen appearance yet, inducing six swings and misses over 16 pitches to record his second straight clean inning. His fastball hit 96 mph on an impressive strikeout of Kike Hernandez.
Tyler Rogers followed with two ground out (Smith and Chris Taylor) before Andrew Suarez entered to get his own, courtesy Jedd Gyorko, and then Corey Seager to begin the eighth.
In came Sam Coonrod, who hit Turner, so Bochy turned to Fernando Abad, the Giants flexing their never-ending bullpen. Abad quickly got Bellinger to bounce into a double play.
With Will Smith having worked two of the previous three games, it was Jandel Gustave on for the save — one trying-out pitcher to the next. Gustave walked AJ Pollock to begin the inning, but bounced back and finished things off with a Hernandez double play to record the first save of his career.
The Giants managed their only run in the first, and it would stand up. Because none of their pitchers — five rookies and three who spent the season at Triple-A Sacramento — would fall down.