This version of the Los Angeles Dodgers doesn’t have Matt Kemp, and their lineup besides Andre Ethier looks to be of Albuquerque quality. That’s still no reason to downplay what the Giants have done in shutting them out twice. After all, outsiders weren’t joining Giants fans in the pity party last year when Buster Posey was absent and Clayton Kershaw repeatedly carved a similarly weak Giants lineup to pieces.
Ryan Vogelsong pitched 7 innings in Tuesday night’s shutout, same as Barry Zito the night before. But Vogelsong’s night was much more impressive, based solely on degree of difficulty. Zito faced a rookie named Nate Eovaldi, Vogelsong faced Kershaw. Zito was given a 7-0 lead going into the 3rd inning, Vogelsong had no margin for error.
Vogelsong spent a lot of time during his postgame interview doing what he always does — crediting Buster Posey. To hear Vogelsong tell it, every start he has a hard time finding his way in the beginning before Posey pulls him toward safety. Often Vogelsong talks about finding his way by throwing through Posey’s glove, but tonight walks weren’t a problem (Vogelsong didn’t walk anyone after issuing a free pass to Dee Gordon to start the game). Hits turning into game-changing rallies weren’t a problem either, because Vogelsong shook off Posey only one time.
“I shook him off once in the first inning and Ethier hit that double off me, and I kind of said after that ‘I’m not going to shake him unless I’m 100% sure,'” said Vogelsong, as you can see in the video below.
– Posey was a monster tonight after a full day off, hitting the ball hard four times and getting two hits to show for it (although hitting a liner off Kershaw’s back was a nice touch … unless you’re Kershaw). He also threw out Gordon at second base, and Gordon’s kind of fast. With Lincecum coming off a good last 5 innings throwing to Hector Sanchez, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Posey rest again on Wednesday, since it’s a dreaded day game after a night game.
– In Tuesday night’s edition of “media dining room predictions,” I told Alex Pavlovic (who crushed me when it came to predicting Zito’s fate the night before) that I thought the Giants would have more luck than usual off Kershaw — 3 runs over 6+ innings. If the Giants hadn’t gone 1-for-10 with RISP against the reigning NL Cy Young, they might have beaten that prediction.
– Speaking of Pavlovic, he got a great quote from Vogelsong while I was trying to see if Angel Pagan would talk about running through Tim Flannery’s stop sign when he scored the Giants’ second run:
– I couldn’t wait out Pagan (he was talking to someone else for quite some time), but Bruce Bochy had a pretty funny reaction when Andrew Baggarly asked him about Pagan’s baserunning exploits. Check out the way Bochy rubs his head at the beginning.
– I asked Vogelsong about his single up the middle off Kershaw.
“He’s tough, man. He’s really tough,” Vogelsong said. “It was luck, man. He threw it, I hit it. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m a good hitter by any means. He threw it in the right spot, I happened to get the barrel on it. It went somewhere where someone wasn’t standing.”
– Before the game Matt Cain was presented with a key to the city, and Cain gave his hat and spikes to a representative from Cooperstown. The whole collection of items sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame was on display in the press box during the middle of the game, and I took some photos. Enjoy!