What is it called when you do the same thing over and over and expect a different result?
For a sixth straight start, the Giants ran Tyler Beede out to the mound, betting his stuff would break through. For a sixth straight start, he was ineffective, showing glimmers of a fastball that moves, a changeup and slider that get swings-and-misses. For a sixth straight start, they were only glimmers.
It’s less harmful and more understandable when these blow-ups come in Colorado, as one did to begin the month. It’s far worse when they come in perhaps the Giants’ most important series thus far.
It took two batters to discern what kind of night it would be for the Giants, who lost the series opener to the Cubs, 5-3, at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. San Francisco (63-63) fell back to .500 and 4 ½ games back of the second wild card, whose hopes can be dashed with a few more games like this. After rattling off six of seven, the Giants have lost two in a row at a time of year when that hurts.
Beede showed little signs of snapping out of his funk and the offense couldn’t lift him, managing just six hits, all their runs coming off home runs by Austin Slater and Kevin Pillar. After Pillar’s fourth-inning shot, the Giants got just three more hits, two that didn’t make it to the outfield.
The game was about 4 feet from being swung in the seventh, when Mike Yastrzemski, with a runner on, drove a Kyle Ryan offering to deep center. But the Giants’ hopes died at the wall, more specifically in Jason Heyward’s glove.
An offense tagging Cole Hamels for three runs in six innings, then falling silent against Chicago’s bullpen, is easier to stomach than another Beede outing to forget. There was a time when results could be shelved in the name of development, but that time is not now if the Giants want to be in a playoff race.
Beede went four innings while letting up four runs on six hits and three walks. The walks are a surprise for a pitcher who had preached about count leverage, not bases on balls, representing how his control needs to improve (and it did, with 13 of 21 first-pitch strikes).
What is not a surprise and is more worrisome is the three home runs allowed.
Nick Castellanos was the first, the second batter of the game. Two batters later it was Anthony Rizzo, digging a 2-0 hole as soon as the Giants landed in Chicago.
Rizzo hit another in the third, and even if those were the only runs charged to Beede, he was in and out of trouble, throwing 91 pitches in his four innings. He didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning and escaped a pair of two-on threats. Perhaps the best that can be said for Beede as he can’t get his head out of the quicksand is it could be worse for a pitcher whose ERA swelled to 5.82.
Yes, these balls are flying farther than every other year’s. But that’s not an excuse for home runs hit off Beede that were 103.7, 108.3 and 101.8 mph off the bat. If Beede fooled the Cubs, they had solved him a pitch later. He’s allowed 25 runs in 27 1/3 innings (8.23) in this span. For a sixth straight start, he couldn’t hit six innings.
Still, Beede left a 3-3 game, depending upon a bullpen weakened from the trade deadline and from use. The Cubs got the go-ahead run in the fifth off Fernando Abad, Jonathan Lucroy’s single that tipped Brandon Belt’s glove scoring Javy Baez. They added the cushion in the seventh, Matt Kemp’s sacrifice off Andrew Suarez driving in Rizzo.
A bullpen that wasn’t perfect can be forgiven. Will Beede have to earn his forgiveness at Triple-A Sacramento?