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Postgame Wrap: Vogey Cruises, Buster Bruises

Posted By Thomas Todd On July 23, 2012 @ 10:11 pm In Postgame Wraps | No Comments

“Nothing brings ‘em out like a Vogey start, maaaaaannn”. Just pencil it in, folks. When Ryan Vogelsong starts for the Giants, he will go seven innings. He will give up three runs or fewer. He will give the Giants a heckuva good shot at winning baseball games.

The Padres had real trouble pulling the ball against Vogey. The approach from the left side appeared to be “hit the ball to left field” and they did. Luckily, the Giants played a left fielder tonight and many of those balls went foul or were caught by said fielder. When Vogelsong got deep into counts, he pounded hitters inside with fastballs they just plain guessed wrong about. I suppose that’s what Krukow means when he says Vogey “will throw anything at any time”.

Outings like tonight are what 2003 Vogelsong was supposed to do, but couldn’t because “anything at any time” turned into “anywhere at any time”. No control, lots of walks, Japan. This continues to be the craziest effing development in the last decade of Giants baseball.

**

On offense, the major takeaway from today’s game is that Giants hitters are great at recognizing balls that bounce two feet in front of home plate. They’ve struggled with this in the past to the extent where you had to legitimately ask yourself if Hensley Muelens played cricket instead of baseball. Clayton Richard kept the Giants on-balance by repeatedly hitting soil with all of his pitches, prompting first-inning bullpen action. Always fun when the Padres come to town and their starting pitching falters.

Games like today make projecting the rest of the season fun. Buster Posey hasn’t slumped much this year, with his worst stretch coming April 25th-May 12th, where, in 59 at-bats, Buster hit .203/.254/.305. Consistently a .300 hitter with spurts of sheer brilliance, a healthy Posey has taken the Belt away from Pablo Sandoval as The Best Homegrown Hitter In Black and Orange. Capitalizing Belt was a total accident. I swear.

Brandon Watch 2012

Belt: Sat in favor of Joaquin Arias. Truly, Below The Belt. Bochy says Belt needs some time, and to be fair to Bochy, Belt has looked horrible at the plate in recent weeks. He has failed to make contact in a few key situations and still appears to be trying to draw walks over a more balanced approach. On a recent podcast, FanGraphs’ own Wendy Thurm came on and we discussed her notion that Belt should hit second rather than roil in obscurity in the black hole that is the bottom of the Giants batting order. His high on-base percentage would set the table for Melky, Posey, and Panda, all of whom are producing at the moment.

But Ryan Theriot seems to be Bochy’s counter argument. And, just for a moment, I’m going to argue Bochy’s case. The raw data doesn’t look 2-holey for Theriot. Even after a 3-hit day today, he is still hitting .279 with a wOBA of .291 and a wRC+ (once again, a run creation metric where 100 is average) of 81. But despite these numbers, Theriot makes contact in almost 89% of his at-bats. Compare that to Belt’s in-play % of just under 75%, in Bochy’s mind that’s a lot of leadoff baserunners moved over.

Then there’s the confidence issue itself. Belt sees himself plummeting down the lineup, neglected like one of Bill Paxton’s wives on Big Love. Wouldn’t a week-long audition in the 2-hole inspire the little rascal to work on his contact and stop being so dern passive at the plate? Maybe. I have a sinking feeling that we either won’t ever know or will find out the answer because Joe Maddon solved the Belt Riddle like Einstein doing long division.

**

That’s a lot of barking for a 7-1 victory over a division opponent. It’s those damn Dodgers. Bring me the head of the man they call Ellis! I don’t care which one! Does it matter? They just keep hanging around after I keep writing them off as an afterthought in what I want to be a runaway division lead. I want to start focusing on moves that will make this team succeed in the playoffs, and not have to worry about showing up to Turner Field in early October against Tim Hudson with the season on the line. And I just know they are getting Matt Garza. And somehow the Giants will acquire Mike Macdougal and a hot dog vendor to be named later.

Stats of the Day:

18: Starts Ryan Vogelsong has made this season

18: Times Ryan Vogelsong has finished the 6th inning

3: Giants players with 3 hits

2.18: The difference between Vogelsong’s ERA and his xFIP

1: Times Buster Posey decided he was havin’ it today

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