Nationals trade power for precision to bludgeon Giants

Nationals trade power for precision to bludgeon Giants
August 14, 2012, 6:30 am
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SAN FRANCISCO First item of note: No Giants were harmed inthe making of a most atrocious 14-2 loss to the Washington Nationals Mondaynight.

Ryan Vogelsong took a shot off his backside, another off hisright shoulder, and most notably, a direct hit to his formerly NL-bestearned-run average. (It went from 2.27 to 2.72.)

Surely he suffered a bruised ego, right?

Im not frustrated at all by this, said Vogelsong, whogave up eight runs in 2 23 innings. The disappointing thing is I felt goodand my stuff was good. Things just didnt go right.

Thats putting it mildly. The Giants were outclassed by theteam with the best record in the major leagues. Theyve been outscored 38-14 infour losses to the Nationals. And theyll need a flinty performance fromMadison Bumgarner, who gets thrown into the breech Tuesday night.

Vogelsong, such a stingy competitor on the mound, simplycouldnt stop a barrage of hits that deflected off bodies and gloves.

I dont think sharpness was the issue, he said. I just didntget them to hit the ball at anybody. Its part of the game. Sometimes the balldoesnt bounce your way and thngs dont go right. It didnt go right tonight.

It was the first time all season that Vogelsong didntcomplete at least six innings. His streak ended at 22 such starts. And theeight earned runs doubled his previous season high.

So many times, Vogelsong has pointed to his lack of a trackrecord while saying he still has so much to prove as a successful major leaguestarter. This time, his solid track record in 2012 provided the comfort.

Whats easy to put it behind me is that Ive got the restof this season and what Ive been able to do, he said. One start wontaffect me. When youre in a long season, a start like this will happen. Youturn the page, even though its hard to take and Ill probably lose some sleepover it.

Vogelsong said he only regretted one pitch the fastballdown the middle that Kurt Suzuki lined for a three-run double that completedthe seven-run third inning.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy was long gone by then, havingdouble-timed it to the mound after first base umpire Mike Estabrook calledRoger Bernadina safe with yet another infield single with the bases loaded.This one was a rocket that glanced off Vogelsongs shoulder to second basemanRyan Theriot, whose throw appeared to be in time.

I didnt need to watch it, said Bochy, asked if he saw areplay. It was closer than I thought, but that didnt play a part in the game.Theres not a lot to say. Vogey has been so good. Hes been as consistent asanyone. They placed the ball well and we just couldnt stop it.

Its a rough day at the yard.

The yard was supposed to be the Giants salvation. They sawplenty of fireworks over July 4 weekend at Washington, when the Nationals keptshooting opposite-field home runs to right field and right-center. That wasntgoing to happen at AT&T Park, with its breeze, crisp air and high arcade.

But the Nationals traded the home run for anotherbludgeoning tool. Their lineup kept making hard contact, and it was uncanny howwell they placed their ground balls.

They were all tough plays, Bochy said. A couple balls oneinch the other way and he gets out of that inning.

Instead, neither Vogelsong nor Bochy saw the fourth. And giventhe outcome, perhaps there were some in the sellout crowd who wished they couldvetraded places.

Its been a great run hes been on, and I told him thatwhen he came out, Bochy said of Vogelsong. It was one of those games. Whatcould go wrong went wrong.

At least the Giants made the right decision prior to the first pitch, when they decided to keep a 13th pitcher while finding a roster space to activate third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

Were in pretty good shape, considering, Bochy said.

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