Jay on Vogelsong: 'He was able to work us'

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Jay on Vogelsong: 'He was able to work us'

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SAN FRANCISCO The Giants, so dependent on their startingpitchers all season long, advanced to the National League Championship Serieswithout any member of their rotation finishing the sixth inning of a playoffstart.In Game 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals, Madison Bumgarner didnothing to dispel the notion that the Giants playoff rotation was in shambles.Consider that notion dispelled, thanks to one Ryan Andrew Vogelsong.The Giants well-traveled right-hander allowed just one run in seven innings inGame 2 and ensured that the team charter to St. Louis will be a little morelively than the one to Cincinnati last week. Vogelsong entered Game 2 with an ugly 6.83 lifetime ERA against the Cardinals, but thatincludes some rough outings before his career resurgence. Since 2011, Vogelsonghad allowed just one run in 12 innings against St. Louis, including sevenshutout innings on August 8 this season.Vogelsong was no stranger to the Cardinals hitters, but hebaffled them at first with a lively fastball and later with his off-speedstuff.He pitched really well, said Cardinals leftfielder MattHolliday, who had one of St. Louis four hits off Vogelsong. Hes tough whenhes locating his fastball. Hes got a little extra giddy up on his fastball thatsometimes is hard to adjust to.David Freese, who entered Game 2 batting .500 in sevencareer NLCS games, was held hitless Monday after crushing a two-run homer in theseries opener.Their guytonight was spot on. He threw everything where he wanted to. Him and Buster Poseywere working well. We just couldnt find holes, we couldnt put good swings onhis pitches and thats what they wanted.Another hitless Cardinal, centerfielder Jon Jay, saidVogelsong cruised because of count leverage, something he struggled with whenhe posted a 6.75 ERA over his final 10 regular season starts.He was ahead in the count and he didnt give us too manyhitters counts, Jay said. When a pitcher does that, theyre usually prettysuccessful. So he was able to work us pretty good tonight.Cardinals manager Mike Matheny agreed with Jays assessment.He controlled the counts. He uses off-speed well. Hes got good stuff. Andwhen you have good stuff and you execute in the zone and you expand it when youwant to, good things are going to happen for you He just kept our guys offbalance and thats the key to pitching. Hitting is timing and pitching isbreaking up hitters timing.The Giants will start Matt Cain in Game 3 but have yet to announce their planfor Games 4 and 5. With Madison Bumgarner running on fumes, Barry Zitoregressing and Tim Lincecum's role undefined currently, Bruce Bochy wouldhave to turn back to Vogelsong if the series goes to a sixth game. Mathenyknows that if his team sees Vogelsong again, adjustments will be required.Were going to have to do something different if we see himagain, Matheny said.The Giants hope that wont be necessary and that the World Series will be thestage for Vogelsongs next start and chapter in his Cinderella story of acareer.

Three more Giants likely to join Posey in World Baseball Classic

Three more Giants likely to join Posey in World Baseball Classic

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Four years ago, Giants coaches made no secret of the fact that they felt some veterans were affected by playing in the World Baseball Classic. The Giants were coming off a long postseason run, but eight of their big leaguers chose to participate in the 2013 event. 

Four years later, the list is down to just four, and the Giants won’t stand in their way. Buster Posey has already been announced as a catcher for Team USA and Brandon Crawford is expected to play as well. Johnny Cueto has told the Giants that he intends on pitching for the Dominican Republic and Albert Suarez plans to pitch for his native Venezuela. 

In past years, clubs have primarily been concerned about pitchers. In an odd way, hitters are almost better off playing in the WBC instead of facing amped up prospects in Cactus League games. The Giants learned that lesson the hard way in 2015 when Hunter Pence was drilled by a prospect with a lack of command, causing him to miss the start of the season. For pitchers, the run-up to Opening Day is a tedious one, but Giants officials said they’re not concerned about their co-ace, Cueto, participating. 

“Major League Baseball is doing everything it can to help us protect them in terms of the quantity of players on the roster and pitch counts and innings,” general manager Bobby Evans said. “We feel MLB is working carefully to help all of us manage guys while they’re away from camp. We feel as confident as ever that they’ll be protected. Lessons have been learned, and everyone involved will try to find ways to avoid issues.”

If Crawford commits to playing, he could find himself in a fun spot. Nolan Arenado has already said he will play for the United States and the two National League West stars could form one hell of a defensive duo on the left side of the infield. Posey will start for a team that already has Max Scherzer and Chris Archer as part of the starting staff. Evans said the teams will carry three catchers, and Posey isn’t expected to be overworked. His manager said he’s not worried about the decision. Posey will simply have to start his preparation process a bit sooner.

“I’m fine with it,” Bruce Bochy said of Posey playing. “Buster wants to do it and I’m good with it.”

This will be the fourth edition of the WBC. In 2013, the Giants were represented by Ryan Vogelsong, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Angel Pagan, Santiago Casilla, Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and Jose Mijares. 

Bochy: Game 4 loss to Cubs toughest I've ever had to bounce back from

Bochy: Game 4 loss to Cubs toughest I've ever had to bounce back from

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Bruce Bochy had grown accustomed to being in the October spotlight during even years, so he had a hard time getting on board as a spectator during one of the most exciting postseasons in recent memory. 

Bochy’s Giants blew a three-run lead in their final game of the season, a loss so devastating that several players headed home the next day without even packing up their lockers. Two months later, Bochy is all smiles. He likes his team, and on Monday he got the closer he needed back in Game 4 of the NLDS. 

Bochy sat down with CSN Bay Area on Tuesday for a one-on-one interview about Mark Melancon, left field, that postseason loss, his new coaches and much more. It will air tonight on SportsTalk Live at 5 p.m. and we’ll run the whole thing back as a podcast. But for now, here are Bochy’s thoughts on the loss that ended his even-year run: 

“I had a hard time, I’m not going to lie. In all my years, that’s the toughest game I’ve ever had to bounce back off of,” he said. “It took a while. It was hard to watch that first postseason game but gradually it got a little better. Just the way we went out, that’s a tough way to go. Our bullpen has been such a big reason for our success so to go out that way, it really wasn’t just that game — it was the second half — we just had a hard time trying to get it figured out. 

“You know, you’ve got to put it behind you, but I’m not going to lie, that was a pretty big blow to the chin. It took a while to get over it.” 

The Giants led the Cubs 5-2 when Bochy made the decision to pull Matt Moore after eight brilliant innings and 120 pitches. That night, Moore and Bochy and everyone else involved said that there was a consensus that Moore had reached the end of the line. Two months later, Bochy doesn’t regret the move. Moore’s 120 pitches went down as the postseason high. 

“I think you can always look back, but these cards have backs on them,” Bochy said. “I felt good about protecting Moore. If he goes back out there he’s probably looking at 135 or maybe more pitches or you’ve got to bring a reliever in with men on base. I felt with the three-run lead that the guys I had could get three outs.” 

Derek Law was the first man out of the bullpen and he gave up a single that was inches from Brandon Crawford’s glove. Javier Lopez walked Anthony Rizzo. Sergio Romo entered and gave up a double to Ben Zobrist. Will Smith gave up a single to pinch-hitter Willson Contreras. After an error, Hunter Strickland gave up a single to Javier Baez. The Cubs won 6-5 and went on to win the World Series. 

“We knew we could get the matchups that we wanted,” Bochy said on Tuesday. “It started out with Law and he got the ground ball right in the shift. The walk hurt. We got behind Rizzo and ended up walking him and Romo ended up getting behind Zobrist and that hurt, the double. And then we had Smitty. I was comfortable and sure they put in the right-handed bat, but the tying run was on second and I didn’t want a left-handed bat up there to pull the ball. He hits a ball that Smitty doesn’t quite get to, a seeing-eye base hit, and unlike us, we made a costly error. There was another, I felt, like a cheap hit there.

“But these are moments you relive. The good ones, but the bad ones stay with you too sometimes.”