The Baltimore Orioles weren't supposed to be a contender this year, but they signed a bunch of veteran hitter to fill in their roster because they wanted some support for the real strength of their rebuilding process -- their young pitching. But getting young pitchers to do anything is like trying to corral kittens with a vacuum cleaner. Also, the vacuum cleaner has spikes or something that rips through kitten rotator cuffs. Ugly stuff. Needless to say, the Orioles' rebuilding plans have hit a snag.
The Cincinnati Reds came into the season with too many starting pitchers. They were going to have to send someone down to the minors or bullpen who probably could be in the rotation of a lot of teams. Then young-pitcher things happened to the young pitchers, there were flames coming from the young pitchers, a veteran or two melted because of the flames from the young pitchers. The next thing they knew, Dontrelle Willis was in the rotation (though doing okay, actually).
Which is all a long-winded setup for this question: at what point do we consider Dave Righetti to be some sort of wizard? It's not like this for other teams, like the Reds or Orioles, yet for the past few years, the Giants' pitching has been unbelievable.
Matt Cain keeps getting better. Tim Lincecum will occasionally start to veer out of control, but he always finds himself. Ryan Vogelsong shouldn't even be on a major-league roster, and now he's leading the NL in ERA. Madison Bumgarner came up to the majors as a teenager with an 87-mph fastball, and now he's a 93-mph, easy-action machine. Jonathan Sanchez is ... kind of screwing up this post. But before this season, even he was improving every year.
Barry Zito hasn't, uh, gotten that much worse. That's something to note. Kind of.
But it seems like Dick Tidrow gets the credit for finding the arms, and Sabean gets the credit for keeping them around (or in Vogelsong's case, acquiring them). Where's the love for Righetti?
Right here, dammit. Here's a post chock-full of Righetti love. I don't know what he does. I don't know a thing about pitching mechanics. But after eleven years, all I know is that Dave Righetti only does good things for a team. I think. I mean, I have no idea what the technical details are, but he's getting a reputation as a wizard, like a Leo Mazzone or Dave Duncan. Someone who can turn Ryan Vogelsong into, well, Ryan Vogelsong.
It's not like this game was all Vogelsong tonight -- with a lesser defense that's unable to turn those two double plays, it could have been a long night -- but it was mostly Vogelsong. He couldn't throw strikes last year. Now he's a pitcher who thrives on his command. How is that not wizardry on the part of Righetti? If there's a better explanation, I don't want to hear it. Rags has been a starter, and he's been a closer. Now he's just a wizard. His powers awe and frighten me.
Also, welcome to Rand McNally. Here you'll find folks wear hats on their feet, hamburgers eat people, and Ryan Vogelsong leads the league in ERA. Enjoy your stay.