So far, the Pedro Beato-as-a-starting-pitcher experiment is . . . slow going. In his second start with the Ducks, the former Mets reliever was rocked for seven runs in three innings Sunday, including a six-run third.
Maybe it was the effects of Saturday night’s Liberty Division first-half championship-clinching celebration, but the Ducks didn’t have it on any level in a 15-2 loss to the league-worst Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in front of 4,671 fans at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.
Beato allowed six earned runs and nine hits in three innings. He has an ERA of 14.85 in two starts since returning to the United States after a stint in the Mexican League.
“Late in the count, I wasn’t putting pitches where I needed to and they were getting hit,” he said. “I had one hard ball hit, which was the home run. But what can you do? Sometimes things don’t go your way.”
Beato maneuvered relatively well through his first two innings. He worked around a leadoff single in the first by starting a double play on a hot shot back to the mound and allowed an unearned run in the second after leftfielder D’Arby Myers dropped a fly ball hit by former Duck Jon Griffin, who scored on Tony Thomas’ single.
It wasn’t the most graceful two innings, but the score was tied at 1. Then came the third. The Blue Crabs had three doubles and a home run in a six-run rally that gave them a 7-1 lead and ended Beato’s day.
“He just had a tough time tonight,” said Ducks pitching coach Rick Tomlin, who managed the game in place of Wally Backman, who returned to Oregon to get a jump on the All-Star break, according to the team. “We’re trying to get him stretched out . . . We had to get some pitches out of him so he could get further along the line. Unfortunately, he just elevated some balls, especially 0-2.
“[Southern Maryland] swung the bat. They did a nice job against him. He’ll be better. He’s moving forward . . . We look forward to him getting sharper. His stuff is fine. He’s moving from the bullpen into a starting situation. He needs to get some length and needs to get stronger so as he works into the second, third, fourth and fifth inning, he’s crisp and sharp, and that takes time.”
The Ducks gave many of their regulars the day off. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, L.J. Mazzilli and Ezequiel Carrera started their All-Star break early. David Washington did not start and replaced Daniel Fields in right in the sixth. Newly acquired former Met T.J. Rivera, who had three hits in his debut Saturday, also sat.
After clinching their fifth straight playoff appearance Saturday, the Ducks (42-27) now will enjoy the nearly week-long All-Star break before beginning the second half Friday night in Sugar Land, Texas.