Even after 23 months of not pitching a game on a Major-League mound, Brandon Beachy said the expectation set for himself was to throw “nine scoreless.” Realistic or not, it’s the mindset Beachy has heading into each of his outings.
Saturday’s reality for Beachy in his Los Angeles Dodgers debut tells a much different story. Four innings pitched, three earned runs, and a loss. “I was really excited to get out there,” he said after his first start in the Majors since August of 2013. “And I’m really disappointed now. That’s not the way you picture it, but it is what it is.”
Any nerves Beachy may have had were magnified when his first three pitches to Gerardo Parra were all balls. Parra wound up reaching on a single, but was erased the following batter on a double play. “It took me way too long to get settled in,” Beachy said. “I’ve got to be better than that.”
The Brewers drew two walks with one out in the second, which went in the books as another scoreless, but stressful inning for Beachy. After allowing the leadoff man to reach on a base hit in the third, the right-hander retired the next two batters and was poised to put another zero on the board.
One hanging curveball to Ryan Braun hit for a ground-rule double changed his fortunes. Braun’s hit actually hit off the wall in left-center field, ricocheted off Andre Ethier’s leg and bounced over the fence.
The umpires reviewed the play to determine if it was a home run before upholding the ground-rule double call. A questionable decision to intentionally walk Adam Lind then sunk Beachy and the Dodgers. With the bases loaded, Carlos Gomez cleared them with a double that Ethier nearly managed to make a leaping catch on.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly thought Beachy very much looked the part of a pitcher who had missed plenty of time. “Like a guy that hadn’t pitched in awhile,” he said. “Fastball command was kind of in and out. He threw some strikes, made some pitches but he was pretty much throwing 20 pitches an inning.”
Mattingly also took some positives from the start. “I think you see his stuff is there,” he said. As much as Beachy was disappointed in his performance, he said confidence in his pitches and arm holding up weren’t an issue.
He admitted to rushing some pitches, which he’ll work on in the time between now and his next start. Whenever and wherever that may be. Mattingly over the last two days has said he already holds of an idea of what the Dodgers’ starting rotation will be out of the All-Star break.
What exactly that entails he hasn’t divulged. Beachy though, is of the mind he’s part of it. “Yes, until they tell me differently,” he answered when asked if he expects to remain in the rotation. “That’s what I plan to do and do it to the best of my abilities. And I expect to be a lot better than I was tonight [Saturday].”