Another day, another very good Ryan Vogelsong start. If he keeps this up, I’m going to run out of things to say. It’s weird, considering how different they come across, but something in Vogelsong’s approach reminds me of Jonathan Sanchez. You never saw Sanchez say “hell with it, try and hit this”; he’d stubbornly nibble and nibble, trying to hit the corners and get the batter to miss breaking balls. It was kind of commendable, that refusal to give in, but of course he couldn’t find the strike zone so it never really worked out.
Vogeltron does the same thing, but he has the strike zone’s home phone number. He outperformed his FIP last year by nearly a full run and he may well do it again, throwing pitch after pitch that’s just crap to hit. The Texas Rangers lineup is essentially a bunch of Game of Thrones characters armed with baseball bats instead of bastard swords, and then they produced an assortment of dribblers, pop-ups, and a handful of loud outs. I don’t know if it’s sustainable, but holy crap is it fun to watch while it is.
The defense helped Vogelsong out a good bit, which is nice to see, especially on a day where the Rangers – an excellent defensive team by any measure – played some old-fashioned clownball out there.* Angel Pagan’s big catch in particular was cool, and I hope we all remember it the next time he runs off for a cha-cha bowl in the middle of chasing down a fly ball. Pagan giveth, and Pagan taketh away.
(*Ian Kinsler must be really sick of playing in San Francisco already.)
And then there’s the hitting. Patient ABs, gap power, taking advantage of defensive lapses, two-out RBIs. Yeah, that sounds like the Giants. It was nice to see Nate Schierholtz doing something – seriously doing something, that was a loud triple – and he may well see some playtime as Melky returns to earth and needs days off. Honestly, though, if all three starting outfielders stay healthy and productive Nate’s probably trade bait. I’m okay with that. Maybe he’ll hot-streak his way into a starting gig somewhere. Theriot remains useful, Buster remains golden, and Gregor Blanco has taken a look at the harsh, cold light of reality and decided he wants nothing to do with that nonsense.
Pablo’s back. Holy crap, Pablo’s back! I almost forgot, and that’s kind of a good sign; with a few exceptions, like last night’s feeble flail-fest, the Giants more than made up for his absence. “Stay around .500” was decidedly unambitious. There’s a lot of games left to play, of course, but games like this, against teams like this, are fuel for optimism. If Timmy could turn in a quality start tomorrow, that’d be like a double of optimism-flavored whiskey. You can get drunk off Good Lincecum, so I recommend checking out the game in the comfort of your home, just in case.