Ryan Vogelsong’s next start will take place in nearby Chase Field, but it’ll have a completely different feel than seen at Camelback Ranch on a lazy Monday afternoon. Hopefully for Vogelsong and Team USA, the results will be close to the same as his first eight innings of Spring Training, where he gave up a grand total of zero runs.
Vogelsong started his third Cactus League start with three scoreless frames (the Giants lost the game 6-2, in case you care), then in the fourth he surrendered a single to Jeff Keppinger, a walk to Adam Dunn and a single to Paul Konerko before getting pulled by Bruce Bochy. Vogelsong was tagged with three earned runs, due to Dewayne Wise hitting a controversial home run off Josh Osich that supposedly landed fair. Bochy argued and was told by home plate umpire Mike Everitt that the ball hit the pole, but they don’t send Spring Training home runs to MLB’s replay center in New York (for good reason).
Otherwise, Vogelsong looked strong. He struck out three White Sox — all looking — which Vogelsong downplayed to a certain extent. “I think it’s just early,” Vogelsong said, “My location’s been pretty good too, so I think that’s helping a little.”
Vogelsong talked about getting excited for the World Baseball Classic and his hopes for his home country.
“Haven’t faired so well in the first two. It’s our obligation to go out and show people that this is our game,” Vogelsong said. Team USA has an all-time record of 7-7 in the WBC, with its best finish coming in 2009 when they lost in the semifinals to Venezuela.
Stolen BASGs and photos I didn’t steal (honest)
— Brandon Belt, a high-OBP player known for his patience, hasn’t walked once. Bochy doesn’t mind, since the Sultan of Spring raked a triple today, his 11th hit in 22 at-bats in Arizona.
“He had a great spring last year, he looks like he’s comfortable hitting in the Cactus League,” Bochy said. “We certainly need him (during the regular season). He’s getting a lot more confidence. That comes with playing, getting time and maturing as a Major Leaguer.”
For a player whose confidence and body language has gone through a zillion microscopes in his relatively short big league career, a vote of confidence regarding Belt’s confidence should provide confidence for Belt and his many fans. #confidence
— Gary Brown has a single and struck out twice, including this doozy (courtesy of @HeHitsItDeeeeep):
Brown’s game usually doesn’t exactly remind one of Cody Ross, at least until this swing. Although the “Boss” usually flung his bat into the stands.
— Matt Cain came in as a reliever in the fifth inning today, and he said it was his first appearance out of the bullpen since 2006.
“I tried to make it as normal as possible,” Cain said. “Sit down for the top of the fifth so it could be normal.”
Cain gave up a couple runs in the fifth, then settled down and pitched a scoreless 6th and 7th. I asked Bochy whether it may have been a case of Cain taking a little time to get used to the role that Tim Lincecum took to so well during the 2012 postseason.
“I don’t know if (Cain) was caught up in coming out of the pen because it was Spring Training,” Bochy said. “I will say this, it’s good that we left him starting in the playoffs and we didn’t bring him out of the pen.”
— Cain on whether the starters are competitive in the weight room.
“Not really, because a lot of times we’re on different schedules. We really try not to because we’re not football players. We’re not trying to get humongous. If there ever were to be, if we got into competition, I’m sure Bumgarner’s going to win no matter what. He has no idea of his strength, either. He’ll just keep going until something makes him stop. He’s a big Bam Bam.”
Does that make Hensley Meulens “little Bam Bam”?
— Brock Bond continues to impress at the plate, going 2-for-3 to raise his average to .500. He has also looked surprisingly decent in the field, including a nifty move where he lunged to his backhand side to catch a wayward throw from Kensuke Tanaka. The throw took Bond off the bag, but he quickly found second base and threw to first to complete a double play to end the third.
“He’s not known for his defense, it’s fair to say. Playing good defense here. It’s early, but he’s had a great spring with the bat and with the glove,” Bochy said.
— Bochy said he left Tanaka in the game all nine innings at shortstop because his defense at that difficult position hasn’t been up to par. It’s not that Tanaka has terrible range, but his throwing arm is neither strong nor accurate. It’s debatable whether more time will improve that weakness in Tanaka’s game, but the Giants are certainly giving him every chance to prove he can stick as a utility infielder. At the plate Tanaka went 1-for-4 with a sharp line drive that was caught on the run by center fielder Trayce Thompson to end the game.
— One thing that was worse than Tanaka’s arm was the sound situation at Camelback Ranch. Every time something good happened for the White Sox (including every Giants strikeout), we’d hear Austin Powers saying, “Yeah baby, yeahhh…” Nothing against Austin Powers, but there isn’t one sound in the world that should be heard over a dozen times at a baseball game. Especially not a clip from a movie from the late 1990s at a park that opened in the late 2000s.
— If it’s any consolation to any Giants fans who followed every pitch of this loss and happen to have an interest in architecture, the Dodgers and White Sox both share this stadium and each team has a building with their logo on it in the outfield. The Dodgers’ building is in left field, the White Sox have their HQ in right. Chicago’s building — to my untrained eye, anyway — looks much cooler. I’ll let you guys judge for yourselves:
— Joaquin Arias hit a home run to left in the first, his third Spring Training home run since joining the Giants last year. I’ve seen all of them in person, which means my dad will probably laugh at me (again) tonight.