The urge to write an obituary comes so damned easy. Feels like it should have been prewritten and in the can already. Here lies Ryan Vogelsong. So long and thanks for all the two-seamers.
That only works if you know the story of Ryan Vogelsong and consider it to be much more important than the way he actually pitched. If you focus on the story out of context, sure, this was bound to happen. He was like something out of an unaired Twilight Zone episode -- a cosmonaut who comes to our planet and teaches us all a lesson before the Earth's yellow sun melts him. He came and it was brilliant for a short time, but it was too beautiful and strange to last.
/sets dove free and watches it fly away toward the setting sun
/dove gets eaten by a bat
Except, you know what? Screw that. I watched those Vogelsong starts. He was good. He was good for a long time, dammit. We didn't just make this all up. He would drive hitters insane with sinkers that wrapped around the plate and cutters that blew up hands. He had a changeup of some note and a curveball that could keep hitters honest. When he walked someone, it usually felt like he meant to.
It feels like there should be a way to get that pitcher back. It's not like Vogelsong was splitting twos at a blackjack table and winning every time despite the odds. It was easy to see how he was successful.
This Ryan Vogelsong leaves sinkers over the plate like he's trying to knock down stacked cups in a carnival game. He took a hike through talent-sucking ivy in the offseason and came back the worst pitcher in baseball. If you believe in the narrative arc of the Ryan Vogelsong story, we should have seen this coming. But if you're used to watching Vogelsong pitch well and you think of him as a pitcher instead of a story, it feels like there should be a way to get that guy back.
Ryan Vogelsong, guy who appeared out of nowhere to be crazy-successful, isn't likely to come back. Ryan Vogelsong, pitcher with command of four pretty good pitches, shouldn't be written off so easily. Some people have theories as to what might be happening, but I don't think we'll ever know what's really going on. Maybe it'll snap back as quickly as it did between the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Again, when the Giants were winning the NL West in 2010, this was Ryan Vogelsong:
|Player Moved from AAA-IL to AAA-PCL|
|26||2010-07-28||Salt Lake Bees||Portland Beavers||1-2||2.0||3||0||0||5||0|
|27||2010-08-02||Salt Lake Bees||Portland Beavers||5-7||2.2||3||1||2||4||0|
|28||2010-08-08||Salt Lake Bees||New Orleans Zephyrs||1-5||5.0||8||5||2||5||1|
|29||2010-08-14||Salt Lake Bees||Nashville Sounds||1-6||6.0||6||2||4||5||0|
|30||2010-08-19||Salt Lake Bees||Memphis Redbirds||1-6||6.0||7||1||4||4||0|
|31||2010-08-24||Salt Lake Bees||Sacramento River Cats||1-6||6.0||5||6||4||3||1|
|32||2010-08-29||Salt Lake Bees||Colorado Springs Sky Sox||1-6||5.2||9||4||3||5||0|
|33||2010-09-04||Salt Lake Bees||Reno Aces||1-5||4.1||6||4||3||6||0|
Nine months later, he was on the All-Star team. Twenty-four months later, he was winning a World Series. But back then, he had serious Beaver trouble, among other problems.
The Giants should still explore options, of course. But it's not like they have Zack Wheeler waiting in the wings, Chris Heston burning up the PCL, or Clayton Blackburn anywhere near the majors. There isn't an obvious fit. Until someone is good enough to make the Giants think twice, Vogelsong will keep getting chances.
Especially with Jonathan Sanchez off the market.
And then the Giants scored one run against Ramon Ortiz, who works for a temp agency and gets paid in corn.
You'll probably hear or read things about this game that mention "the defense" as if the clownassery in the field is a 25-man problem that's eating the team away from the inside. But here are some Defensive Worry Power Rankings:
1. Brandon Crawford
He's really good!
2. Brandon Belt
3. Buster Posey
He's the best!
4. Gregor Blanco
Super speedy out there!
5. Pablo Sandoval
Better than last year! Pretty steady!
6. Hunter Pence
Weird routes! Otherwise fine!
7. Marco Scutaro
Okay, seriously, what's going on with Scutaro? This is getting close to yips territory. He's making strange errors, and he's completely incapable of making any semi-difficult plays. It was one thing when he was showing off Keppingerian range, but at least he backed that up with steady hands. Now? Genuinely miserable.
Hopefully, it's just a hiccup.
8. Angel Pagan
Three-and-a-half years. We have three-and-a-half more years of Pagan in center unless something changes. The Marvin Benard breaks are frustrating enough, but Pagan isn't even catching the balls he gets close to. I don't remember the last time an outfielder on the Giants had this kind of butter-glove. Glenallen Hill? Maybe. But now you're bringing up Glenallen Hill when you're talking about a comparison for a center fielder on a four-year contract.
That isn't to say Pagan's a bad player, but I'm curious if the bad breaks would be as pronounced in left. The clankmittery? That's not going anywhere. Man alive, can he drive you nuts. If only there were some kind of nickname for him that described a man who alternates between good and bad ...