Dallas Beeler didn’t look like he was making his major league debut last month for the Chicago Cubs.
The 25-year-old right-hander from Jenks pitched six strong innings in a spot start to open a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals.
Now back with the Iowa Cubs, the former Oral Roberts and Seminole State standout spent the weekend at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark watching the three-game series.
Beeler is 5-3 with a 3.93 ERA this season for Iowa. He threw six solid innings in a win over Omaha on Thursday, putting him on schedule to not make a start in his home state.
Beeler sat down with The Oklahoman and talked about his MLB debut, his improvement and his time at Jenks.
Q: You’ve made one start back with Iowa since your MLB debut. Did you feel any different?
A: “I was really nervous actually. I was almost more nervous for this last start in Iowa than I was in Chicago. It was such a big moment (in Chicago) that I was able to control myself more. I prepped myself for a lot of it. I tried to get all the nerves out the two days before, take everything in so I wouldn’t be too surprised when I was standing on the mound.
“Yeah, the last start I just tried to treat it like any other one. Go out there and throw strikes, and do what I do to try to remain successful.”
What’s a favorite memory of the start in Chicago?
“Pretty much the whole day, man. Just getting to run out to center field before I stretched and everything, everyone’s cheering for you. They don’t know who you are, but they’re still rooting for you. Then, of course, running out for the first inning, picking the ball up, standing on the mound and taking everything in. That was one of the bigger moments.”
You got a hit in your first at-bat in Chicago. You don’t get to hit much in the minors, so describe that experience.
“Given that I don’t have very many hits in my minor league career either, this year I’m starting to heat up a little bit. I had three hits this year already before that. I just went up there thinking when I was on deck, ‘Man, I’m not going to let a pitch go by. I’m swinging first pitch.’ (Washington’s Gio Gonzalez) happened to throw it somewhere around the plate, I just put ball on ball like we’re taught to do in BP, and I hit it and I was like, ‘That’s a base hit, I think.’ It’s just another moment to take in you’ll have for your lifetime.”
You struggled at the start of the season to throw your fastball for strikes, and manager Marty Pevey said you may have been hesitant with it. What changed?
“After about my fourth game, my pitching coach Bruce Walton started talking about wasted pitches. It wasn’t so much that I was hesitant throwing the fastball, rather I was trying to nitpick with it. I started trying to work on that in my bullpens and my next game I started noticing I had five or six wasted pitches, and I could cut down on those a lot. After the start after that, I only had like two wasted pitches in the game I felt like.”
Your dad Darrell Beeler is still a football and baseball assistant coach at Jenks. Do you still keep tabs on what’s happening there?
“I do my best. Every time I talk to him, he keeps me updated. During football season before each game I call him and tell him good luck and baseball-wise too. It’s a nice tradition and they’re really sports affiliated. Especially with him coaching, I try to keep up with it because it’s kind of like one big family.”
Is a small part of you disappointed you didn’t get to pitch this weekend here in front of family?
“No, I think they enjoyed it a lot more — the ones who got to come up and watch it in Chicago. I think they would rather see me doing that than come watch me pitch in Oklahoma City. They’d rather spend a little bit more money and travel up there. Regardless, I hope all of my family gets to see me pitch eventually.”
By Jacob Unruh