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Giants lose ground in every race because of stupid game

Other than that ...

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The problem with evaluating pitchers, a one-act play:

Ryan Vogelsong doesn't fill me with confidence these days, but that shouldn't be a slight. I'm comparing him to Ryan Vogelsong from 2012. Matt Cain from 2011 and Tim Lincecum from 2010. Madison Bumgarner the whole danged time. The bar is high, and most of the active pitchers these days don't clear it. This is an Ivy League secret club, Whiffs and Breakers, and you have to be invited to join. Vogelsong isn't there right now. Which means, by default, he probably never will be again. If he starts a postseason game, it's because there are bigger problems somewhere else.

Except, hold on, what does one grand slam really mean? I'm not going to go through Yusmeiro Petit's record-setting streak of perfection and tally up the hangers, but they're there. At any point, the streak could have been over with extreme prejudice. He got away with a few, and hitters helped him out with a few others, and that's what a streak like that is really about. It's one part talent, one part luck, one part cosmic tumblers. Vogelsong was a check-swing away from getting out of the inning -- an honest-to-goodness, 50/50 check-swing away.

The call didn't go his way, and then he hung one. He hung one to a monstrous hitter who makes millions de-hanging hung ones. But if the previous call goes his way, we're talking about Vogelsong's uglyish quality start. If Mark Trumbo is convinced that a breaking ball is coming, we're talking about Vogelsong's uglyish quality start. That's how quickly the yays can turn into boos. One stinking pitch. One dirty, dirty, stupid pitch. How do you evaluate that? Assuming that pitch reveals the true talent of Vogelsong is ex post facto of the highest order. We get to use the evidence because we know the results, Seems shady, at best.

So here's my proposal: The grand slam doesn't get mentioned. Other than the previous mentions, pretend the grand slam didn't exist. What did Vogelsong look like?

He looked like a pitcher who couldn't hit his spots. At all.

Buster Posey's glove sat up here { } and the ball would go ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Posey would set up again, the glove here { }, and the ball would go


That's how you evaluate Vogelsong right now, and even with Tim Hudson struggling and Yusmeiro Petit being something of an enigma, I know what my playoff rotation* would look like. There's a golden parachute of warm fuzzies waiting for Vogelsong, but of the five starting pitchers currently pitching in the Giants' rotation, no one fills me with less confidence. Fewer confidences. That catcher's mitt was moving all over the danged place. If Vogelsong doesn't have pinpoint command, what does he have?

It could be just one of those games, the equivalent to an 0-for-5 game with at least one ball hit hard right at someone. Can't read too much into it. Sample size, right, nerds? Sample size.

Except we're in year two of questionable Vogelsong, the questionable version of a pitcher who appeared in a mist and should never have been. If he's not hitting his spots, what is he?


* Ha ha, playoff rotation. They get one game if they're lucky. And if they're lucky beyond the lucky, then they get a playoff rotation.


If there's a bright side to Monday night's game, it's that Hunter Strickland pitched his way onto a playoff roster without pitching. Juan Gutierrez, veteran reliever with a history of sub-optimal relieving, didn't do well, again, in what is something of a trend. He's allowed 13 earned runs in his last 11⅔ innings, stretching back to the beginning of August. He's allowed at least one run in more than half of his outings, which relievers can't do.

Hunter Strickland throws 99 and strikes out orphans without feeling bad. He's right there, waiting.

So if you're the type that spends the night scouring for positives, consider the plight of J.C. Gutierrez. He probably wasn't that good to begin with. He gave the Giants some good innings before reverting to his true form. The Giants realize this, and it isn't going to be an issue going forward.


Juan Perez leading off was hilarious, though. I enjoyed that. I'm as big a JCP booster as you'll find -- he belongs on a 25-man roster somewhere, dang it -- but he's not a leadoff hitter. He's not a backup leadoff hitter in case the other leadoff hitter gets locked in a bathroom stall. He's not a backup to the backup leadoff hitter if the backup leadoff hitter if the significant other of the backup leadoff hitter is calling the leadoff hitter and and wondering where the backup leadoff hitter is.

Not the reason the Giants lost, or close it. Just funny. Of all the things Perez does well, of which there are many, leadoff-hittin' is pretty low on the list.


Tom Woodring seems like a crappy balls-and-strikes umpire. Tom Woodring will go ...

/ dutifully licks pencil

... on the list. Sorry, Tom. But try harder next time. Maybe set up somewhere near the middle of the plate instead of three feet behind every right-handed batter.

The worst part? Vogelsong at his best should be able to take advantage of a zone like that. He should have zone-shamed Wade Miley into submission with his zone skills.

Instead, eh. Giants lose, Dodgers win. Brewers get a scintilla of hope, by virtue of not playing.