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.