Urban: Giants' Vogelsong redefining 'quality start'

June 23, 2011, 6:15 am
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June 22, 2011


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Mychael Urban

Ryan Vogelsong went seven innings and allowed one run Wednesday -- baffling the Twins, ending the Giants' longest losing streak of the season, and lowering his ERA to 1.23 over his past nine games.Now that's a quality start.Enough of this six inningsthree runs business. Do that for a season and you've got a 4.50 ERA that likely leaves you right around the league average.In what world is "quality" the equivalent of "average"?So before we cycle back to Vogelsong, new rule: In order to be credited with a "quality start," you've got to do one of two things. Go at least seven innings and give up no more than three earned runs, or go at least six innings and allow no more than two.Got it, Vogey?Oh, wait. That rule doesn't really change much for you, does it?No, it doesn't. Vogelsong, whose riches-to-rags-to-riches story just keeps getting better, has been locked into this new definition of a quality start for quite some time. Wednesday's ork was typical of this torrid streak the Giants are enjoying out of him.
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Seven innings, four hits, one walk, and one awfully tough earned run that was registered as unearned for about an hour in the box score -- and will register as earned in the minds of many exactly never.The run scored when rookie shortstop Brandon Crawford, who had made an error in the sixth, booted a grounder by Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a very fast left-handed hitter, with two out in the seventh. It was ruled Crawford's second error, so the run was unearned. Until after the game.The official scorer changed his mind on the play after speaking with Crawford in the clubhouse. The kid said he was going to throw to first. The scorer decided Nishioka's speed would have trumped Crawford's arm had the play been made cleanly, so Nishioka ends up with an infield single, Crawford one less error, Vogelsong one more earned run.Without that run, Vogelsong's ERA would be 1.08 over his past nine starts, 1.73 on the year.GIANTS INSIDER GALLERY: Vogelsong, Whiteside heroes
Credit the official scorer for due diligence, but hey, if you want to curry favor with the Japanese media, don't do it at the expense of Vogelsong's All-Star cause, pal.Kidding. Sorta.Doesn't really matter. That's nine consecutive starts of at least six innings and no more than two earned runs allowed for Vogelsong.
In seven of those starts, he's allowed less than two.
In three of them -- four if you want to thumb your nose at Wednesday's phantom earnie -- he hasn't allowed any earned runs.Again, that's true quality, and the next time Vogelsong starts he'll likely reach the number of innings needed to qualify for the major league lead in ERA. He's at 1.86 now, and you know what that is?Barring a collapse of some sort, that's an All-Star. Scoring be damned.

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