I have a recurring dream where I die, and after walking through darkness for what seems like miles, I arrive at a gate. Guarding the gate is something with the head of Ryan Vogelsong and the body of a falcon. He gets ready to ask me a question, and I start shaking. I know at that moment that my lost faith will not be forgiven. I am doomed. I am doomed. All is lost.
Then I wake up and continue doubting Ryan Vogelsong because, really, who remembers dreams? Also, I forgot to mention the Vogfalcon was perched on my first car, which someone was using as a planter box. There was a ukelele made of marzipan, and ... look, the point is that I feel tremendous guilt for doubting Vogelsong. It's a conscious guilt, but spilled over into my subconscious guilt, too. I mean, here's something I wrote when the Giants were down 2-0 in the 2012 NLDS:
How can you even look Ryan Vogelsong in the eye?
We might not win today, folks. This season might be over. But it isn't yet. It was more likely for an otter to evolve thumbs, learn to fly a plane, and beat Charles Lindbergh to transatlantic flight than it was for Ryan Vogelsong to be here today.
And Vogelsong did it, he kept the season alive. Then he did it again and again. Then he beat the Tigers. We're supposed to believe that guy is going to be discouraged and disadvantaged by something as silly as "advancing age" and "loss of command"?
Kind of. Which is why Wednesday night's game was so danged encouraging. I don't recall more than a couple instances of Buster Posey's target flying across the zone to catch an errant pitch. He set up, and the ball went where it was supposed to. The only run Vogelsong allowed came because he was a little too fine with the opposing pitcher. Usually umpires give those calls in pitcher-on-pitcher matchups, but they weren't strikes. Then there was a Dee Gordon triple into the gap, which is like losing a football game on a free throw.
Other than those minor blemishes, that was the old Vogelsong. The new old Vogelsong, which is different from the old old Vog ... look, I know I've used this gag before, but I sincerely have no idea where the old Vogelsong ends, where the new Vogelsong took over, and where the bad Vogelsong pushed him out of the moving van. I don't even know anymore. I just hope the guy we remember from 2011 and 2012 is back.
Crazier things have happened. Like, say, Ryan Vogelsong existing in the first place.
My brain is still on alert for the 17th inning. "Let Brandon pitch! Let Brandon pitch!," we chant. And then when we're reminded that Mattingly took League out in the 13th, we'll get more specific. "Let either Brandon Crawford or Brandon Belt pitch! Let either Brandon Crawford or Brandon Belt pitch!"
Instead, the game was under three hours. Sergio Romo threw 10 pitches, with the only drama in the ninth being a long hanging change to Adrian Gonzalez, but that was ripped off like a Band-Aid.
Almost all of the drama was concentrated in the middle innings, with Jean Machi getting his second 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded of the season.
Ah, the ol' Juan Uribe special. Sit on a pitch and swing, no matter if you get the pitch or not. Then there was that time when Uribe took over for the Giants' star hitter and they won the World Series. I don't know, man.
We've already been over our belated Machi praise, but apparently he's good now? He keeps the ball in the park and gets strikeouts, which is generally a good idea? I don't even know where he came from. He was ... let's check ... in Triple-A for the Pirates before the Giants signed him as a minor-league free agent in 2010. And he wasn't very good. He had a long, distinguished career of walking way, way too many batters without striking enough of them out.
Then, after 2010, there was a Post-It note from a crosschecker, reading "Check this guy out. Split-finger is interesting with work." Then, I dunno, Pat Rice helped him refine it. Then Dave Righetti helped him refined it some more. Then Machi put in the work to get better. Now he's here, pitching important innings against distasteful teams.
That first crosschecker, the person who made the Giants consider Machi as a minor-league free agent in the first place. That's the person you want to raise a glass to tonight. Good eye.
There's no video of the first-inning double play yet, but it will be one of the best of the year. I'll add it in when it's up. It's worth it. Arias-to-Hicks-to-Belt, with each of them playing it perfectly. Even if the Giants lost, it would have been a highlight.
Here, watch this until I get back: