Turner Field has been a sore spot for the Giants in the regular season for a while now and Julio Teheran has been tough on everyone, too, but the past two games have come at a great time when the Braves are clearly struggling on offense and the Giants' pitching is not.
Of course, to say that Ryan Vogelsong is not struggling right now is a severe form of blindness and please contact your local poison control center. He was firmly "bend but don't break" tonight and it all worked out because the Braves are an elite strikeout unit, which hey, that's great because the Giants won a road series against a playoff team but also, ugh, because it will be rough to watch this for the next 4 months. There are plenty of reasons to believe that Vogelsong won't last that long, but starts like this one -- he definitely deserves the managerspeak "gutted it out" -- will earn him a lot more leeway. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. I hope Vogelsong keeps hanging on and when he can still put up quality innings against a tough lineup it's tough to say "no more", it's just that as we saw tonight, those quality innings come sporadically and in the meantime we're left with no command, lots of base runners, and B.J. Upton getting an extra base hit and drawing a walk...
It's likely that if Vogelsong had gone sideways in the sixth that Bochy's trust in him would've eroded, but I think as long as Vogelsong keeps giving Bochy what the team needs from him (innings), they'll learn to live with what's missing most of the time (quality innings). To make it clear that I think this was actually a heck of a start by Vogelsong: he held the Braves to 1 run despite walking 4 and giving up 5 hits and all of this on the road.
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The Giants won in part because Vogelsong nailed it down just enough to allow The San Francisco Dinger Experience to pop off some more solo shots. If Brandon Belt is now just an above average glove and home run hitter (but absent literally everything else), then I suppose I could learn to live with that, but I don't think that's what's happening here. I think Belt managed to crush a bad slider that was right in the middle of the plate rather than swing through it. Posey and Morse hit the same bad slider that was right in the middle of the plate, too. I'm loving this orgy of dingers and I don't want it to end, but if or when it does end I just hope Brandon Belt and company somehow come out of it with the ability to draw a walk and or string together some hits rather than EYES WIDE SHUT style where we're investigating a murder.
The three guys who hit homers were the only ones with hits of any kind tonight. The only walk came from the defensive replacement. The bullpen allowed only one baserunner on a walk despite being asked to get nine outs. None of this feels sustainable and if I was close to a supercomputer I think I could crunch the numbers and find that the feeling is factual. We've already seen what happens when the dingers dry up and the Braves are a great example of that, too. Need more than home runs but... my Bonds... aren't they glorious?
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This is how the game ended:
This is how the game began:
There's no symmetry here, just pure joy.