GiantsPod breaks Giants pitchers with bad ERAs. When Danny and I went to Fresno for a little Central Valley action in 2011, we saw Barry Zito take a bad spill off the mound and injure his foot. Now Ryan Vogelsong is broken. Worst of all, Vogey was having by far his best game of the season. One more inning of decent work would have given the right-hander just his second quality start in nine attempts. This is a guy who reeled off 16 straight such starts in 2012. All in all on Monday, Vogelsong gave up three hits and one walk, allowing zero runs to a team that many picked to make the World Series.
Vogelsong set the tone of the game early, keeping the ball around the plate and forcing a lot of weak contact. Without looking, the only dangerous contact was a warning track shot by Adam LaRoche that Angel Pagan “deftly” maneuvered to get. Vogey walked just one batter — relief pitcher Craig Stammen — on a day when the Nationals failed to get an extra-base hit. Coming into the game with a .292 OBP as a team, the Nationals have not produced at the plate all season. But Ryan Zimmerman had been red hot, batting .333/.429/.519 since returning from a hamstring injury May 3. Couple that with Bryce Harper having one of the best seasons EVER by a 20-year-old and at least Washington’s 3-4 punch looks imposing. Vogelsong faced them each twice, giving up just a single to Zim.
How much less concerned would we be if Vogelsong didn’t pitch his best game of the season tonight? What if this injury had occurred after he gave up five runs in two innings? I would hope the reaction would be the same, considering the lack of depth the Giants have in the rotation. The Giants’ only option on the 25-man roster is Chad Gaudin, who was last a full-time starter in 2007 with Oakland. Despite his gaudy numbers this season, there’s a reason that Gaudin has spent most of his season in the bullpen and spent the offseason looking for a job.
There are some candidates in the minor leagues who could be worth a look. In a bit of cruel irony, SI’s Jay Jaffe wrote about Vogey’s struggles earlier today. He cited scouts that praised Chris Heston and Mike Kickham, who both were said to be on pace to get a look some time in 2013. I think the Giants give Gaudin the first look, but will try to set up a more permanent move with whatever Grizzly looks the best.
Brandon Belt is a man, baby. After a rough start — he was batting .183/.227/.233 on April 21 — the Baby Giraffe has six home runs and an improved batting line. After four hits in five at-bats Monday, Belt sits at .261/.329/.449. Surely the Pill poppers have to be quieted, right? Belt is on pace for 20 home runs, which would be the most since Aubrey Huff improbably hit 26 in 2010. Ah, 2010. That’s why we’re all here. And 2012. And baseball.