Ryan Vogelsong, you confusing man.
Earlier in the day, we all agreed that Vogelsong was the odd man out of the Giants' rotation. The larger arguments were a morass of Lincecum/Hudson/Heston disagreements, but most everyone could agree on the larger truth that Vogelsong was clearly out.
Then he pitched his most convincing performance of the year, a low-drama affair with plenty of missed bats. It wasn't just that he didn't allow a run in 6⅔ innings -- it was the way he did it. The velocity was up. The movement was there. The command was superb. Heck yeah, I remember this guy.
Literally three straight years of waaaay below-average seasons from a guy getting close to 40, who was one of the worst pitchers of his generation in his 20s. We'll always have 2011. Considering the stakes, 2012 was even better. But how can we be surprised when the last few chapters fall apart?
And then he has a start like this. Mitt down. Ball hits mitt. Mitt down. Ball hits mitt. Velocity, movement, command. That wasn't just a Mariners-in-Safeco mirage like the Giants-in-AT&T pain of a couple days ago. That was a legitimately good pitching performance. What do you do with a pitcher like that?
Put him in the bullpen. Hope he throws harder, with that same kind of consistency he threw tonight. That's cold after an outing like that, but we're cold people. We're fans with a short memory.
Still, what an outing. Mike Krukow started the night by talking about a mechanical adjustment, and it showed up as advertised. It reminded me, on a smaller scale, of the talk about the adjustment that Madison Bumgarner made before the 2012 World Series. He's back, everyone. Made an adjustment. No worries with him starting the second game of the World Series because he'll totally be fine.
The only caveat with this is, what if the adjustment is for real? What if there's a chance that we could keep watching 92/93 Vogelsong with impeccable command? We've seen it before, and it was marvelous. A start like that sure makes it tempting to keep trying it. The argument against is pretty simple, considering his age and the last three seasons. But the start like this one keeps calling you. Because what a start. Did you see that start? Ryan Vogelsong sure did well in that start.
What have we learned after a four-game series against the Mariners? Not much. Just one, incontestable truth.
- A 162-game season against the Mariners would kill us all
The Mariners would finish 81-81. The Giants would finish 81-81. They would say things like, "Holy hell, is it legal to have a right-center fence 420 feet away?" We would say things like, "Wait, the ball dies to left field too in this horrid park?" They wouldn't know if their pitchers were doing well or failing, what with the park. We wouldn't know if our pitchers were doing well or failing, what with the park. They would have an enviable ace. We would have an enviable ace. There would be doink-a-doodle hits and line-drive outs.
And it would be unfathomably boring.
That seems unfair to write after a Giants win, especially one in which they scored seven runs. But if you watched all 11 hours of that split-series, you know what I'm talking about. The Giants and Mariners are in the same genre, and after the fourth album in a row, you've had enough. I love Kyuss, but I don't usually listen to three different Electric Wizard albums right after I listen to one Kyuss album. I appreciate it, I respect it, I enjoy it, but enough. Go away for three seasons, Mariners. That's not said out of disrespect or disgust. It's just that I've been listening to that album all day.
If Mariners fans don't think the same thing, well, I guess I'm the bad guy. Pretty sure, though, there's more in common with these two teams than different. And if I had to listen to myself tell the same jokes every day, I would die, because, dear lord, shut up with those stupid jokes you awful person.
The Mariners are either an album or dumb jokes, but we don't need to figure that out for a long time. This has been McCovey Chronicles Analogy Theater.
Ranking the two-hit performances from unlikely sources:
1. Angel Pagan
Still don't trust the powerless Pagan with the refurbished back, but he had good at-bats, and I'm quite far from assuming that he's forever as bad as his last month. A month of .340 nonsense would make everyone forget everything.
2. Andrew Susac
Man, I'll never figure out that balance between in-the-majors and getting-regular-at-bats. That's a stark, honest confession. I have absolutely no idea how to figure that delicate balance out. What's more important, seeing 13 pitches from some goofball in Salt Lake City, or spending your time listening to Hensley Meulens and catching guys like Vogelsong? I don't know. I don't know.
All i do know is that it makes me feel better when Susac hits a little.
3. Justin Maxwell
Still a fifth outfielder. But still a perfectly qualified fifth outfielder. We'll appreciate him a lot more when Hunter Pence and Gregor Blanco are back.
In the second inning, the normally steady Brad Miller muffed a double play. The muff ended up leading to three runs. It was a bad, ill-timed muff.
My hypothesis is this: There is an absence of those muffs that can help explain June swoons and July ennuis and such. As in, you can play six games against three different opponents and have absolutely none of them screw up at the worst time, which makes it look worse when your team can't do anything right in crucial situations.
I would love to skip over a detailed statistical analysis and pretend I understood it, is what I'm saying. We're so focused on what our teams are/are not doing, maybe there's some statistical marrow involve with what the other teams are/are not doing.
I like that Matt Duffy exists and does Matt Duffy things.