Vogelsong MVP of Bay Bridge Series without throwing single pitch

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Vogelsong MVP of Bay Bridge Series without throwing single pitch

Who was the MVP of the Bay Bridge Series?

Oddly a guy who didnt even play.

Ryan Vogelsong has arguably been the MVP of the entire Giants season, proving that last years comeback was no fluke. Hes been a steady and dominating presence on the mound a counterpart to old Mr. Reliable Matt Cain which has been crucial, while two-fifths of the starting rotation has floundered. He will pitch Tuesdays second game against the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, and will bring the confidence of 41,000 to the mound with him.

But Vogelsongs value really showed against Oakland, when he didnt even take the mound.

On Friday night, after Tim Lincecum barely escaped a disastrous first inning, cameras found him talking intensely with Vogelsong in the visiting dugout.

REWIND: Channeling rage key for Lincecum's turnaround

Lincecum had a look of panic in his eyes. He later said he confessed to Vogelsong, I dont know how not to be mad.

And Vogelsong told him, Dont worry. Just know what youre mad about.

Sounds simple, right? But coming from Vogelsong those simple words carried weight.

Vogelsong is the only guy who could have told Lincecum that and had it mean something. Who else could? Not Barry Zito hes the veteran of the staff but his words dont carry credibility because he cant put them into action himself. Not Matt Cain he and Lincecum are the Giants Glimmer Twins, siblings the same age who have grown up together and can support each other but dont have the distance to advise each other. Little brother Madison Bumgarner cant do it hes just trying to figure it out himself for the first time.

RATTO: Lincecum looks 'basket case' dead in eyes, responds

Could Dave Righetti? He had offered Lincecum the same kind of advice as Vogelsong gave. But hearing it from Righetti is like hearing it from a parent granted in Lincecums case it would be a parent who doesnt go off on an over-the-top rant in a national newspaper. But parental advice is always processed differently.

Vogelsong, on the other hand, speaks from experience. Hes been there right where Lincecum is, watching his career and his promise crumble while hes on the mound with the bases loaded. Unable to focus on the next pitch. Unable to channel his emotions and his anger and his angst into throwing the baseball.

For Vogelsong, it wasnt just a matter of a few months. It was years, and he bounced around in the minors, went to Japan, went to winter ball in Venezuela, and finally it clicked. Finally he believed the words he was telling himself.

Vogelsong has lived what he told Lincecum.

His moment in the dugout on Friday night could have been the turning point for Lincecum and for the Giants season. A year ago, Vogelsong was the newcomer, trying to fit in on a World Series team. Now hes the veteran presence, a guy who has seen it all and actually knows what to say.

It wont show up in his W-L record, but it was arguably his biggest outing of the season. Well, until he faces the Dodgers on Tuesday.

After another loss, Bochy challenges staff to 'tighten it up here'

After another loss, Bochy challenges staff to 'tighten it up here'

DENVER — For the second straight start, Matt Moore watched an outfielder chase down a rocket, slam into the wall, and immediately leave the game with a hurt shoulder. 

“You’ve got to feel a little responsible,” he said Saturday night, shaking his head. 

That’s not entirely fair. The Jarrett Parker and Denard Span injuries have been flukes, but there is a different kind of responsibility for the starting staff. Bobby Evans built this team on the starting five, and through three weeks, the group has been a letdown. 

Madison Bumgarner was hurt during an off-field incident. Johnny Cueto has an uncharacteristic 5.25 ERA and 1.38 WHIP through four starts. Moore gave up six runs in four innings Saturday, raising his own ERA to 5.87. On the other side, a rookie — Antonio Senzatela — held the Giants to four hits, leading the Rockies to a 12-3 win.

“He just made mistakes. You saw them,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Moore. “They caught too much of the plate and they were up and they took advantage of them. This can be a tough park but they pitched well tonight with a young kid. You’ve got to make your pitches. Keep concentrating and don’t give in. That’s the way it works and we’re not doing a very good job of that.

“Obviously our staff, we’re a much better staff than what’s happened. We’ve got to tighten it up here and wake up. We’re not a team that goes out and pounds it with you. We’ve got to pitch.”

The starting staff, even without Bumgarner, is more important than it first seemed. That's because the rest of the Giants are dropping, too. Span went out in the third when he slammed into the wall while making a catch, and while the initial read is positive, he was going for X-rays Saturday night. At the very least, a right shoulder sprain will keep him out a couple of days. 

That means Bochy, 18 games in, is dealing with one of his Bomb Squad situations. Buster Posey will play first on Sunday after a couple of long days in the squat, and it’s possible Brandon Belt will get a day in left. Gorkys Hernandez, hitting just .088, is the man in center while Span is out. Hunter Pence (knee bruise) is expected to return to right field Sunday, but the outfield is hanging by a string. The Giants have even talked about putting Eduardo Nuñez in left, and on Saturday he played several innings in right because of the Span injury. 

Bochy challenged his starters, but the regulars behind them will need to be better, too. The bats didn’t get going until the eighth inning at Coors Field, and even then, a rally was cut short and the Giants promptly gave up six more runs. Nuñez was late getting over on a pop-up that clanked off Joe Panik’s glove and extended the inning. 

“You’re going to deal with that,” Bochy said. “He’s going to feel discombobulated.”

Bochy had just one positive to point to, and he lit up when asked about Chris Stratton, who threw three hitless innings to keep the Giants within shouting distance. 

“Boy, that kid did a nice job," he said. 

Stratton isn’t far down the depth chart if there are further injuries in the rotation, and with a fastball that touched 95, he looked better than he has in years. The Giants hope they don’t need to test him. They’re banged-up, but at the moment, they still have four of their projected starting pitcher, along with Ty Blach. Without Bumgarner, the group will have to be better, and Bochy let them know it Saturday. 

Instant Replay: Rockies crush Moore, Giants lose Span in third straight loss

Instant Replay: Rockies crush Moore, Giants lose Span in third straight loss

BOX SCORE

DENVER — Near the end of last season’s collapse, the Giants spent a couple of days sitting eight games out of first place. Less than three weeks into this season, they’re already six out, and there are no signs that this is going to get better anytime soon.

The Giants managed just four hits against rookie Antonio Senzatela and went on to lose 12-3 at Coors Field. They also lost another starter to injury. 

A week to the day after Jarrett Parker broke his clavicle, Denard Span was removed after a similar collision with an outfield wall. Span has a mild right shoulder sprain and will go for X-rays. Throw in Hunter Pence’s left knee bruise and the Giants played most of this game without all three of their projected starting outfielders. 

To hang in a game like this one, the Giants needed a one-man show on the mound. Matt Moore wasn’t up to it. The lefty gave up six runs in four innings, including three homers. Mark Reynolds hit a deep blast in a three-run first and Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon went deep in a three-run fourth. 

The Giants threatened in the eighth, getting two runs back and sending the tying run to the plate. That rally seemed a lifetime away by the top of the ninth. The Rockies scored six runs off Neil Ramirez in their half of the eighth. 

Starting pitching report: No pitcher likes this place, but Moore has a real beef. In three career starts at Coors Field he has thrown just 11 2/3 innings and allowed 16 earned runs. 

Bullpen report: Chris Stratton, called up for the Madison Bumgarner roster spot, made his season debut in the fifth. He was outstanding. Stratton allowed just a walk in three innings and he topped out at 95 mph, a significant tick up from where he was last year. Stratton struck out three and broke Nolan Arenado’s bat on a grounder. 

At the plate: Joe Panik went deep in the sixth for his first homer of the year. 

In the field: Eduardo Nuñez made a great stop in the second and threw Stephen Cardullo out as he rolled over. An inning later, he was in right field. The Span injury forced Nuñez to right for just the seventh time in his career. He wasn't tested until the eighth, when he was late getting over to a deep pop-up that Panik dropped. 

Attendance: The Rockies announced a crowd of 39,239 human beings. They’re excited about this team, and for good reason. 

Up next: Save them, Jeff.