Vogelsong makes case for playoff rotation

Vogelsong makes case for playoff rotation
October 4, 2012, 4:41 am
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LOS ANGELES Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he wouldannounce his NL Division Series rotation the entire rotation followingThursdays optional workout at AT&T Park.

Ryan Vogelsong did his best to make it an arduous decisionin Wednesdays regular-season finale.

Thats probably the best Ive thrown the ball all season,said Vogelsong, who took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when an error keptthe team on the field and Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw followed with an RBIsingle. I thought I didnt miss a pitch till Kershaw got that breaking ballthere.

Vogelsong did not receive a decision after throwing 71pitches over five innings. He finished with a 14-9 record and 3.37 ERA, comingup just short in a bid to join Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito inthe 15-win club.

More importantly, he allowed just one earned run over hisfinal three starts a run that more closely approximated those fantastic firstfour months, when he was the NL ERA leader as late as Aug. 8.

He threw great, Bochy said. Good stuff, good command.Like with Matt Cain, we got him where we wanted him. He pitched very well. Hesall set to go. Now its a matter of setting up this rotation and deciding howwe want to do things.

Like with Cain? Does that suggest Vogelsong is being groomedto start, perhaps as early as Game 3 in Cincinnati?

Sure, possibly, Bochy said. But also in case we want touse him the first couple games, wed have him available.

Vogelsong, for all his intensity, said he wouldnt try to lobbyfor a start.

I just tried to treat today like a playoff game, mentally,said Vogelsong, who is the only member of the Giants rotation who hasntpitched in one. Personally, Id love to have the opportunity to start aplayoff game. But at this point, its not about me. Its about us. If the bestdecision is for me to go to the bullpen, thats what Im going to do.

Well know soon enough.

Many fans would say the simplest thing to do is sendLincecum, clearly the worst of the five starters over the long haul this season,to the bullpen. But Bochy has spoken many times about Lincecums ability toperform when the lights come on. I think theres still a level of belief thatTimmy will come through, despite finishing with the worst ERA (5.18) of 46 NLpitchers who qualified for the ERA title.

Im not saying this is how the Giants will go, but if itsup to me, I would start Cain and Bumgarner in the first two games, then startLincecum in Game 3. You can usually tell if Lincecum is on or off within the first10 pitches. If hes off, Id pull the ripcord and use Vogelsong as yourparachute.

That way, if Lincecum does pitch well and the series goes toGame 4, you can start Zito (with Vogelsong providing backup again). Bochy canalways reserve the right to turn to Cain on short rest, too.

In the postseason, its all about keeping your options open.And hopefully, you like most of them.

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