You could argue that was the best start of Ryan Vogelsong's career as a member of the San Francisco Giants. The main piece of evidence would be the Bill James' Game Score. Vogelsong registered an 82. That's better than any of his October starts last year (79) and his best since May of last year in another 4-0 win, that one against the unlucky in love Oakland Athletics. It's his best game score as a Giant period. If you were wondering about whether or not the Giants would pick up his option for next season, then I think today's performance answers that question.
Of course, game score isn't the final say on this matter, but it serves to help offer perspective. Ryan Vogelsong's career appears, at least since 2011, to be unkillable. He battled against a tough Pirates lineup and a strike zone that didn't particularly favor his power nibble pitching attack and was up against A.J. Burnett, who is a really, really good pitcher. But he never gave in, he had command of his pitches and was able to make his very meager repertoire work because of his sequencing and that very same command. He was in a groove, and he was able to hold the Pirates at bay until the Panda could come up with a big hit.
Sure, this wasn't a pressure-packed situation, as the Giants are relegated to playing spoiler for the remainder of the season, but for him it probably was a very big game for him. Every game until the end of the year, in fact. If the Giants do not pick up his option, he's got to keep himself positioned to catch on with another team. There doesn't appear to be any sign of quit in Vogelsong. He's going to pitch a couple more years at least, and probably a couple more after that, but only after every team has given up on him. And then, he'll do what he's been doing this entire century, he'll persevere and force the issue. That's right, I'm pretty sure that Ryan Vogelsong will just keep pitching until his arm falls off. I can't short change this guy or bet against him when he puts his mind to something. He did the most difficult thing a straight white male can do in the arena of dating: he married the bartender. That is a feat that... well, I mean, it's impossible. But Vogelsong does the impossible. It's kinda his thing.
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WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IMAGE CONTAINS DEFENSE-RELATED PORNOGRAPHY
(h/t: the mighty @gidget)
Sweet, glorious defense. If every catcher were like Buster Posey, then maybe the bunt would go away altogether.
In the previous inning, Buster Posey gunned out Andrew Lambo trying to take second base during Jody Mercer's plate appearance and the ball got to Crawford a full second before Lambo arrived. Posey got a great throw thanks to what looked like an up and away fastball that Vogelsong lost the handle on... but even now, I'm not so sure that wasn't an orchestrated "I'm not pitchin' out, I'm just pitchin' out."
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Buster had a big day, Pablo Sandoval had a big day, and both did it on offense and defense. This game had all the ingredients of a "good" Giants game of the past. They get their second series split at home in the month, and even though the Giants haven't won a home series in over a month, it's still nice to see these little blips of not terrible late in the season. Hope is a powerful instrument, and anything that generates even a modicum of it for the squadron (and, let's face it, all of us) heading into 2014 is not only a good thing, it's a bit of a relief.