Oh, come on. I was allowed one stupid pun headline.
At first, the default position was, "Stop. Just stop. There is no fifth-starter controversy. Barry Zito hasn’t been especially good since joining the Giants, but he has provided a certain amount of value. Ryan Vogelsong is not as likely to provide that same value." That was the end of the argument, and anyone who disagreed was ignored as if they had talked about the Giants needing to score more points because they didn’t want to watch overtime.
Now I realize how short-sighted that position was. If Vogelsong keeps pitching well, the worst part will be that there will be a stupid fifth-starter controversy. That’s it. That’s the downside. And if he pitches really, really well, there will be a fantastic fifth-starter controversy. You’ll take the annoyance to get the good pitching every time, and it’s pretty fun right now.
The coolest part about Vogelsong is that he gives the Giants a completely homegrown rotation, even if that comes with a bit of an asterisk. He was a pitcher I remember looking forward to watching back in 2001, a curiosity akin to how we’d feel if Zack Wheeler or Eric Surkamp were called up next week. It’s absolutely and completely ridiculous that he’s pitching and winning for the Giants in 2011. The other coolest part is that he’s pitching well and winning. You know, the little things.
If there’s a reason to be skeptical, it’s his control history in the minors, not his stuff. As long as he’s spotting pitches, he’s a good back-of-the-rotation guy. I’m still doubtful he’ll keep spotting those pitches -- guys just don’t improve their control that much in one offseason. But that’s cynical talk for a game that isn’t a sweep of the division leaders behind some fantastic pitching. Right now, just revel in the Ryan Vogelsong story, which might be the best one going in the majors right now.
There will be a game in the future -- maybe this year, maybe next year -- in which the Rockies hit six pop-fly homers in Coors Field. They’ll come back against a Giants bullpen that can’t stop walking people, and you’ll want to defenestrate your everything. Just remember this game. Breathe. Remember Jason Giambi’s warning-track fly ball. Remember the Rockies hitting into 41 double plays. There is order in the universe. There will be pain at Coors eventually, and it will be pain on Colorado’s terms. For now, the annoyance flag is flying over our park. Feels good. Feels really, really good.