I’m going to ask you to remember way back in the middle of August and September. Way back to when Ryan Vogelsong was struggling. Before August 13, Vogelsong’s league leading ERA sat at 2.27. Seven games later, Vogelsong’s ERA sat at 3.65. Panic ensued among the fan base. Was Vogelsong finished? He was giving up a jillion hits per start. It wasn’t fun. Had the magic ran out of his right arm? Over that seven game stretch, Vogelsong pitched 29.2 innings, gave up 48 hits, and 34 earned runs. Batters hit a combined .366/.417/.634 slash during those seven games.
It was an epically bad stretch — unlucky, too — of pitching.
Tonight, Vogelsong reminded us why he’s still Ryan Vogelsong, throwing the best start of any Giants starter this postseason. Rarely do I find FOX’s baseball commentary “good” but I had to give it to Tim McCarver, he made an astute observation on Vogelsong’s fastball during the game. In the earlier stages of the game, Vogelsong was nipping the outside corners of the strike zone. Later in the game, Posey and Vogelsong started to work the batters in with the hard stuff and it paid huge dividends: lots of bent-armed, harmless, looping pop-up swings.
Of the 12 Vogelsong fastballs that were put into play, four were pop outs, two were groundouts, three were doubles (two from Beltran), one went for single, and one went for a flyout and one for a forceout. Outside of Carlos Beltran — who appears to be good at this sport of baseball — Vogelsong’s fastball was a tremendous weapon for him tonight.
This strikeout against Allen Craig pretty much sums it up.
92 mph. Inner half of plate. Bent. Arms.
Vogelsong’s final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO. Vintage Vogelsong.
Miscellaneous post-game thoughts:
* Watching Matt Holliday slide into second base, and Marco Scutaro, like a caveman in the first inning sent shivers down my spine. Moving aside whether or not it was a legal slide — I’m not sure how it was legal; Holliday was nearly the past the bag before he slid — I’ve never been one for shoehorning the football mentality into baseball. Brutal collisions really have no place in the game and I would love to see MLB try and protect its players a little more by cracking down on needless collisions. What a stupid, brainless play. Blech.
* Speaking of horrific collisions, for the love of God, FOX, please stop showing us Buster Posey’s injury from last year. I get that Posey’s ridiculous comeback is a story, but I’m so tired of watching that play — I was tired after I saw it for the second time in 2011 — that I really think it’s in poor taste to keep showing it these days. Move on, please.
Great game tonight. Let’s hope that Scutaro is OK. Let’s also hope that the offense is starting to come around a little. If the Giants had a more consistent game from Bumgarner in Game One, this series could easily be headed to St. Louis with the Giants up 2-0.