Besides Buster Posey’s home run that went 10 rows deep behind the 382 marker in left-center, this was a clunker of a game for the San Francisco Giants. It was one they’d like to toss aside and forget, but questions are going to linger — not about the offense, even though there wasn’t much to report besides two hits each for Posey, Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt.
The questions about Ryan Vogelsong grew louder after he failed to get out of the fifth inning. The Braves batted around that inning, and Vogelsong left with a higher ERA than he had entering the game — a remarkable feat considering he entered the game with an ERA of 7.20 (now it’s 7.78, the highest in the National League).
Will the Giants skip his next start?
“These are things we’ll talk about internally. Right now I’m not ready to discuss that. He’s healthy. We have different options, I’ll leave it at that,” Bochy said.
“He’s human. He’s trying so hard. This game it can be tough on you sometimes when things aren’t going well. If anything he might work too hard at times. That’s the type of person that he is.”
Vogelsong was asked whether he thought he’d take his next turn in the rotation.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
Death stare. Okay, maybe not a death stare. But an intense, almost defiant expression that was held for a few seconds. Judge for yourself.
In all, Vogelsong actually seemed a bit more upbeat than I had expected while waiting for him in the nearly silent Giants clubhouse. Posey made himself available to us before Vogelsong got to his locker (usually the starting pitcher handles the first media swarm, then people go off to other areas in the clubhouse to talk to players who were relevant for whatever reason on that particular evening).
“He’s good,” Posey said. “Vogey’s been playing this game for a long time. I’m sure he’s been through patches like this throughout his career that he can draw on and try to use that past experience to help him out.”
Vogelsong said almost exactly that in a soundbite so good that you’ve probably already read it in your favorite beat writer’s game summary. Here’s how he looked while saying, “I came through it after 13 years. I came through it after August of 2011. I came through it after August and September of 2012 and I’ll come through it this year.”
Both pitcher and manager were encouraged by Vogelsong’s seven strikeouts, which made up more than half the outs he recorded. Posey said Vogelsong’s pitches were “pretty crisp” and that he doesn’t think velocity is a concern. Vogelsong made it clear that he was healthy. Too clear, in fact.
“I wish there was something wrong so I could blame it on that but there’s nothing wrong with me,” said Vogelsong, who caught himself. “I shouldn’t say that, that’s not good to say. No, I’m fine.”
That’s debatable in terms of his performance, and it’s not beyond the realm to wonder if the 35-year-old — who became an All-Star at a point when most pitchers with his track record are well into their second careers — could be winding down. If that’s the case, it will have been a good ride and story anyway: two excellent seasons that made him a crowd favorite, postseason glory, a great contract. But he definitely didn’t sound like Aubrey Huff last year, who knew he was terrible and gave up early on.
“I feel really close. That’s dangerous to say because if I have another bad one it’ll be like, ‘Well you said you were close,'” Vogelsong said. “I feel closer to being where I need to be than further away.”
— The fans keep going after balls hit down the lines at AT&T, and it happened on both sides of the field tonight. In the first, a fan reached down on Marco Scutaro’s double past first base. It didn’t appear that he touched it, but it was close enough that the umpire called fan interference and the fan was ejected from the game. In the ninth inning we saw a fan pick up Brandon Crawford’s double down the left field line, then try and toss it back on the field in order to feign innocence. There has to be a way to keep this from happening.
— Two guys who looked like yuppies (but with a Jersey Shore edge) were hanging out below the press box. Amy Gutierrez walked by and one of them made this always-flattering remark: “Hey, you look a lot better in person than you do on TV.” After she was out of earshot he said, “She’s cute,” then walked over and talked to her briefly. Not sure if he knew (or cared) that Amy G is married.
Then Mr. Smooth walked off, talking on his phone and doing who knows what, while his buddy went and sat in his aisle seat behind home plate. 30 seconds later, Amy G’s biggest fan caught a foul ball. Other than Posey’s home run, Brian McCann’s home run in the second inning (it was deep — probably don’t need to say much more) and Vogey’s death stare, that’s what I’ll remember about this game.