It was a night. It was a strange, not good, kind of night. For starters, the San Francisco Giants, the hottest team in baseball, lost a game…at home. The Washington Nationals ended the Giants 5 game winning streak and they did it in fashion. The Nats bats came alive and the Giants lost in their home ballpark, 9-2, despite zero home runs from either team. The Giants gave up 9 runs on 12 hits and 1 error. The Nationals gave up 2 runs on 8 hits and 0 errors. Stephen Strasburg got the win, improving to 6-4 with a 2.99 ERA. Ryan Vogelsong got the loss, making him 4-3 with a 3.84 ERA on the season.
Strasburg looked good. He allowed 4 hits, 1 earned run, and 0 walks in 6 innings pitched. He struck out 7 Giants batters. Vogelsong on the other hand didn’t have his best stuff going. He looked like he would exit the game early on, but Vogey did what Vogey does: He battled. Vogelsong also pitched 6 innings, allowing 9 hits, 6 earned runs, 2 walks, and 6 strike outs.
My take is this: Yes, Vogelsong didn’t have his best stuff. Yes, he got rocked. No, I’m not worried. Vogelsong has pitched so much better than last season and better than a traditional #5 starter. I think what I’ve learned to expect from Vogelsong is that he may get knocked around a little, especially early on, but unlike some times last season, he works through it, and generally gets better as the game goes on. He’s always been a “grit it out” kind of guy, but it seems like that energy is being used more effectively this season. And with the Giants currently lineup, you never feel like you’re out of the game when you’re down just a few runs.
But yes, he got knocked around last night, especially by Denard Span. Span, the leadoff hitter, got 3 hits off Vogey last night. They were all extra-base hits, too – two doubles and one triple – and eventually was the batter that knocked Vogelsong out of the game. Ian Desmond also got 3 hits including a double and a triple.
I can’t overlook George Kontos here though. Kontos had been pitching well in his return to San Francisco this season from Triple-A. Entering last night’s game, he came in with a 1.64 ERA in 11 inning pitched. Exiting last night’s game, he left with a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings pitched. Ouch, indeed. He allowed 3 earned runs on 3 hits and 1 walk. There are fans out there that are calling for Kontos to be sent down. Truthfully, when Santiago Casilla and/or Brandon Belt return from the disabled list, he probably will be. They argue he is not a big league pitcher. Most of it stems from his 4.39 ERA last season. I’m not convinced he’s not a big leaguer. In 2012, he pitched with a 2.47 ERA. I think what he needs is stability in pitching in the big leagues. He goes up and down a lot. Unfortunately for him, the only way he’ll get that stability is if he proves he deserves to be here. More outings like last night, and he’ll be back in Fresno soon. However, it’s one game that has rocked his season. It happens to the best of them. I still want to see more of Kontos.
Yusmeiro Pettitt came in and pitched the final two innings, allowing just 1 walk and 0 hits and runs. I like this guy and his flexibility to save the rest of the bullpen in a blowout game, or long relief.
There really isn’t too much to talk about here. The Giants managed 8 hits in their 2 runs. They were not patient at the plate last night. They walked 0 times, and stuck out 9 times. That’s in a tight strike zone, too, for both pitchers. Pablo Sandoval swung at ball 4 at least on a couple of occasions. The lone RBIs came from Brandon Crawford in the 2nd inning, who scored Tyler Covlin after he hit a ground-rule double. The other game from Joaquin Arias in the 8th inning. The bench players put together a little mini-rally. Juan Perez and Gregor Blanco had back-to-back singles. Arias’ single allowed Perez to score. Ehire Adrianza singled after Arias and moved everyone over a base, but Hector Sanchez was unable to get Blanco home from 3B.
Buster Posey also had one hit, a double, and is now hitting .300 over his last 10 games. I’d say his “slump” is over.
Aside from Michael Morse getting hit by a pitch, that was about the only exciting things in the game. The Giants lost. They’re still in first. They still have the best record in baseball. It happens, and I have no doubt the team and Madison Bumgarner will move forward tonight and make the most of their opportunities.