Ryan Vogelsong wasn’t on the team that vanquished the Texas Rangers in the 2010 World Series. But if Vogelsong does find himself pitching in a postseason game against the Rangers or any other team, his demeanor couldn’t get any more intense than it is before and during starts from April through September.
“He’s got that maniacal focus you love,” Bruce Bochy said of the pitcher who takes each start very seriously and pitched an absolute gem on Saturday afternoon: 7.2 innings, only 1 earned run allowed. Besides a vicious splash hit home run to lead off the 8th inning by Mitch Moreland, Vogelsong put the clamps on what Bochy described as “probably the best offensive team in baseball.”
Vogelsong’s personality engenders the same feelings from his teammates that Bochy mentioned. It also leads to some friendly ribbing from time to time, but in a way that’s how athletes show love to one another.
“I get a lot of grief about that,” Vogelsong said after the game. “It’s focus. I know from the past, when I’ve had my struggles, that it kind of always came back to that. I’m getting a little bit better where I can have more conversation gameday. I try not to have a lot. Once I get in game mode I kind of like to stay there instead of bouncing in and out … these guys give me a hard time about it, but it’s where I have to be.”
To see Vogelsong talk about his focus, and the effect it has on his wife, watch the video below (1:39).
Speaking of giving Vogelsong a hard time, Vogelsong also collected his first hit of the season after starting the year 0-for-20. I suggest you watch the following video because it’s pretty funny, partly because it includes Jeremy Affeldt starting things off by yelling out, “Way to hit that ball up the middle, Vogie!”
Then Vogelsong talked about how Buster Posey and Hensley Meulens deserve credit because they gave him a little hitting advice yesterday. When asked what advice they gave, Matt Cain (who was standing at his locker directly behind me) didn’t miss a beat: “Don’t miss the ball.”
“As you can see, I’ve got the gallery yelling at me already,” Vogelsong said at the end of this clip (0:47).
Here’s Posey on the specific advice he gave Vogelsong (0:16):
I also asked Posey if with Vogelsong’s intensity whether he feels like part of his job is to calm him down. “I don’t have to do that with him. He’s got his routine before the game and takes it on the field. He knows what he’s doing.” That led to a follow-up on how Vogelsong’s personality changes on gameday. “He’s a little more quiet,” Posey said.
— Pablo Sandoval was back, and boy was he excited. In fact, he used a form of the word “excite” 11 times during his postgame interview.
— Before the game Sandoval told a couple reporters that he had no problem with Bochy telling him he needs to work on his focus and conditioning. Henry Schulman asked him about it after the game, and here’s what Sandoval said:
“They are the boss, they make the decisions. So boss said what I need to do, I need to get in shape,” Sandoval said. “This is the moments when you have a great manager. He gives you the advice to work hard, to be a better player.”
— Nate Schierholtz looked more comfortable today than he has in several weeks, making a couple nice catches and hitting his fourth triple and second double of the year. His triple was the hardest ball I’ve seen a Giant hit here in quite some time, a line drive that hit the wall in right-center on the fly.
— Watching Schierholtz reminded me of something Bochy said when asked about his playing time (or lack thereof) with the arrival of Gregor Blanco. I might be paraphrasing, but from memory I believe he said, “Nate’s gonna play. They’re all gonna play.” That last sentence pretty much crystallizes Bochy’s managing philosophy, at least how it pertains to position players.
— And now for the “tip your cap” segment of this post. Last night and today were my second and third times watching Josh Hamilton in person. I was a little too busy living and dying with every pitch the first time I saw Hamilton (Game 1 of the World Series), but it’s been pretty enjoyable this weekend, I have to admit. He hit a rare HR into Sec. 143 last night, and when he hit that double off Javier Lopez today he broke out of the box with the same effort Bryce Harper regularly gets lauded for. He had a little trouble in the field today with that Brandon Crawford pop fly, but no one can question Hamilton’s effort.
— Blanco had his fourth multi-hit game in the last five days, and his ninth in his last 15 games.
— The game was once again delayed while a Triple Crown race was replayed on the videoboard. Sergio Romo looked prepared after seeing it happen to Lopez during the Kentucky Derby, however. He started pacing around between the mound and second base as the horses headed down the stretch.
— I didn’t mention this last night, but Cain was wearing the “I’M SEXY AND I KNOW IT” tank top in the clubhouse before yesterday’s game. The best part about the shirt is that it’s a decidedly not classy wife beater. It appears that with Brian Wilson absent most of the time, Cain’s enjoying a new role as team comedian. Or maybe he was always that way and we just didn’t know it.