It didn’t look good for Ryan Vogelsong in the 4th. Buster Posey did what he seems to do more often on the road than at home — hit a tape measure home run — to give the Giants an early lead. A sacrifice fly by Joaquin Arias gave the Giants a 2-0 advantage. But here Vogelsong was, with more balls than strikes to his credit, teetering on the edge of a Tim Lincecum inning (too soon?).
Duane Kuiper and Dave Flemming were lamenting Joe West’s combative, spiteful nature and it appeared that Vogelsong might walk the entire Mariners lineup. Then he got Michael Saunders to line out right to Gregor Blanco. An 0-2 count to Justin Smoak became 3-2. Luckily for Vogelsong, Smoak swung at ball 4 and hit a grounder to Ryan Theriot. Theriot made a nice catch and turnaround throw to Arias, who caught the throw on a bounce and somehow dragged his toe across the base (or convinced the umpire he did, it doesn’t really matter).
Could any other pitcher on the Giants wiggle out of that situation with a double play as often or as predictably as Vogelsong these days? Could any other pitcher in baseball?
Going into this game, Vogelsong led the Majors in LOB% at 84.7% (just ahead of R.A. Dickey, who perhaps not coincidentally is 10-1). That percentage actually goes down after Friday night’s win in Seattle, when two of the seven baserunners he allowed managed to score. But even though the Mariners avoided the shutout, their fans were effectively beaten down earlier. All the intruders wearing orange and black and filling Safeco with “let’s go Giants” chants didn’t help. Then Melky Cabrera drilled a home run into the first row in left center, and the Mariners’ preeminent blogger had this response:
If that doesn’t take you into the mind of the Seattle sports fan, I don’t know what does.
It can’t be a great week in Seattle, with the Oklahoma City Thunder playing in the most-watched NBA Finals in history. The Pete Carroll excitement is long gone (if it ever existed), and the Mariners have the second-worst record in the American League.
It’s enough to make a fan jump out of the stands to field a ball in foul territory, just to get away from it all.
The Giants look like a pretty good team these days, especially since they’re hitting homers now. The lineup isn’t laughable, and Matt Cain Matt Cain Matt Cain. The only question is … are they really good, or have they simply been feasting on the Cubs, Padres, Astros, and now Mariners? Ah hell, it’s the weekend and it’s supposed to be 80 degrees tomorrow in San Francisco. Let’s save the paranoia for Lincecum’s start tomorrow evening, shall we?
— Sergio Romo hasn’t allowed a baserunner in June.
— Brandon Belt’s home run streak was snapped, but he picked up another two hits. And don’t look now, but after striking out in 1 out of every 3 at-bats in June he’s striking out in 1 out of every 6 in June.
— Santiago Casilla makes closing look almost too easy sometimes.
— Vogelsong (6-2, 2.29 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 58 K, 32 BB) may very well keep Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 3.08 ERA, 1.12 ERA, 74 K, 18 BB) out of the All-Star Game. Or vice versa, if Tony La Russa is an advanced stats guy now.