SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants stayed behind Barry Zito during his darkest days and they didn’t give Tim Lincecum a timeout last year when he made one errant start after another.
They’re not switching course with Ryan Vogelsong, either.
One night after Bruce Bochy left open the door to pushing back Vogelsong’s next start, the Giants’ manager said he has no plans to make any rotation changes. Vogelsong will take his next scheduled turn Wednesday at Toronto.
“The more I look at it, he was pretty good,” said Bochy of Vogelsong’s outing, when he struck out seven but appeared to run out of gas in the fifth inning of a 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves. “He had a walk in there, and a sinker (to Brian McCann) he didn’t get where he wanted. But aside from that he threw well.”
The Giants couldn’t use Monday’s travel day to skip Vogelsong. They could only push back his start by three days. But Bochy hinted that extra bullpen sessions would not be what Vogelsong needs. If anything, he might have to back off working so hard – both in between starts and on the mound.
“He’s grinding too hard with every pitch,” Bochy said. “It’s just like a hitter. When you don’t have success, you work to get out of the slump. And you may overwork. You may try to get out of a slump by taking a thousand swings and now you’re compounding it.”
Vogelsong’s 7.78 ERA is the highest among qualified NL starters and he’s given the Giants just one quality start out of seven.
In other pregame news, Bochy acknowledged that Brett Pill is tearing it up at Triple-A Fresno, but there are no current conversations about tweaking the roster to get his hot bat to the big leagues.
Pill was 2 for 4 with two home runs, six RBIs and two runs scored at Nashville on Thursday. He’s hitting .345, he leads the Pacific Coast League with nine homers and his 43 RBIs are the most in all of professional baseball.
“The roster is not a challenge or a problem,” Bochy said. “We know Pill is swinging the bat well. We watch him. We talk about it. He’s doing what he needs to do. But to be honest, we’re not talking about making changes. Now, after the game, that could change. But there’s no talk of bringing him up right now.”
According to Bochy, everyone in the bullpen is available for at least a hitter or two -- except Santiago Casilla, whose knee is about the same today. He's due to get a new knee brace prior to Saturday's game and the hope is that he'll be available by then.
You’ll notice that Bochy has switch hitter Andres Torres, the right-handed portion of his left field platoon, in the starting lineup against Tim Hudson, the Braves’ accomplished and stingy right-hander.
Bochy said he was playing a bit of a hunch because he liked Torres’ at-bats of late. Also, it allows him to break up what otherwise would be a block of three consecutive left-handers in the 6-8 spots in the lineup. The Braves bullpen is one of the best in the league, so anything you can do to get a better late-inning matchup is worth considering.
The Giants need all the help they can get against Hudson, too. The 201-game winner hasn’t lost to the Giants since April 8, 2006. He’s 6-0 with a 2.48 ERA in his last nine starts against them. (Not counting the postseason.)