You know, if Ryan Vogelsong ends up having an excellent year, if he climbs out of the depths of Hades for, like, the fourth time in his career, I will have some apologies to make. We will have some apologies to make. It's so easy to discard a fan-favorite after a slow start, especially if he checks all the same boxes that Vogelsong did. Came out of nowhere, check, advancing in age, check, clearly performing worse than his peers, check. Those are the same boxes that Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres checked off, postseason heroics be damned.
At the same time, there were sound, rational, statty reasons to think that Vogelsong could contribute in 2015. You just watched him contribute in 2015. Do you doubt his ability to do so again? Hit his spots. Missed some bats. Yeah, that guy can contribute. We just watched it.
The truth is a nice, even mix between his last, dinger-besotten start in Los Angeles and Tuesday's start against the Padres. If he were as bad as he was against the Dodgers, he would literally be the worst pitcher in baseball history. Without peer, the worst pitcher ever. If he were as good as he were against the Padres, he would literally be the best pitcher in baseball history. His ERA against them, after all was 0.00. Do you doubt statistics? You sure doubt a lot of things.
Vogelsong's last two starts were the extremes, then. That was as bad as he can get. This is as good as he can get. At the risk of repeating myself -- though you have to know I just don't care about repeating myself at this point -- Vogelsong has three varieties of starts: The Maddux, the grinder, and the Pirate. The first one hits every last one of his spots with enviable movement and befuddling break. The second one lives on the rectangle that frames the strike zone, and damned if you're going to tease him into the middle. The last one is simply bad.
This was a grinder, but it had scoops of Maddux dust on it, at least. The pitch count was down until the later innings, so it can't be a true grinder. But the game plan to was do anything but throw fat strikes, and that's what Vogelsong did. To Alexi Amarista in the third:
To Will Venable in the fifth:
Amarista again, this time in the fifth:
And, one of my favorites, Matt Kemp in the sixth, with two runners on:
Kemp hit the ball well, but it wasn't a good pitch to hit. There were other hittable pitches sprinkled throughout the game, but the net result was that Vogelsong pitched most of his night as if there were a baby chick in the middle of the strike zone. Peck peck peck. Fluff fluff fluff. Cheep. Would you murder that chick if you had the choice? You lack the industrial seasonings and Dow sponsorship to transform it into a nugget, so, no, you would not murder that chick. Vogelsong agrees. He pitched on the edges, mostly. It worked.
What if it worked for the rest of the season? Easy, there. He's not the worst pitcher in history. He's not the best pitcher in history. He's somewhere between, but we got to enjoy one of the wild swings of the pendulum tonight. It was a fun swing. More of those, please.
The last time the Giants allowed a run, they pretty much had the game in hand, but it was still a little sketchy. Then the next guy hit a line drive into the dingus who wasn't supposed to get hit by line drives. That was on Saturday, three games ago.
That last shutout streak this long was in 2012. Barry Zito was involved. So was Shane Loux. No one says these shutout streaks have to make sense.
Also involved in that both shutout streaks: Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, George Kontos, Sergio Romo, and Santiago Casilla. Maybe these shutout streaks make sense, after all. Or, at the very least, continuity makes it all more enjoyable.
The Giants have allowed nine hits in their last 27 innings. They've allowed nine hits in two different games this year that they've won.
Time of game: 2:25. My goodness.
First 10 games
Eight out of 10 over three hours
Last 10 games
Two out of 10 over three hours
It makes a difference. It also seems to correlate with Giants victories, too. Will investigate.
YUSMEIRO PETIT GOT TO TASTE THE SWEET NECTAR OF VICTORY. He will not get a hold. He will not get a save. He will not get a win. But he will get the finest participatory ribbon the organization can fined. After eight straight useless mop-up appearances, Petit got to pitch with a lead.
In a game that wasn't really in doubt.
Still, baby steps. Maybe the Giants can get some sort of Manhattan Project together to figure out a use for this useful pitcher, after all.
Fighting the urge to like.
Fiiiiiighting the urge to liiiiiike.
A game over .500. Second place. Check this out, in position for the second wild card if the season were to end tonight. Do you know what happens with wild cards? Magical things.
I was expecting good stretches. I was expecting ups and downs. I wasn't expecting them to get clustered together this quickly. These jerks might surprise us yet.