Jul 5, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (32) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Adversity is no stranger to Ryan Vogelsong.
The San Francisco Giants pitcher didn’t really break through in the Majors until he was 33, and even then he had his doubters. How long could a late bloomer sustain the success he saw in 2011 when he was named an All-star, posting a 13-7 record and a 2.71 ERA? The following championship season, when he was 14-9 and boasted a lower WHIP than the previous season, he firmly solidified his spot as a rotation staple.
Fast forward a few years, and the 37-year-old right-handed hurler who relies on painting the corners and putting balls in play was relegated to the bullpen, with veteran Tim Hudson getting the nod to move back into the rotation after coming off the DL.
Here is some of Twitter reaction to the news:
First of all, this was not going to be an easy decision for manager Bruce Bochy. Neither pitcher has necessarily “won” the spot as a starter, but a few factors seem obvious on the surface in favor of Hudson.
Hudson just turned 40 and this will likely be his final season, so why not let him finish it out? He is a four-time All-Star, and moving him into the bullpen would certainly shake his confidence, whereas Vogelsong has seen some success as a long reliever.
How long this decision stands pat will also rely on where the Giants are in the hunt for a postseason berth. If their chances are quickly diminishing, you will likely see Huddy finish the season in the rotation. If they’re battling for the Wild Card or the NL West, and Hudson is struggling, you may see Boch go back to Vogey.
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Fatigue will also be a big factor. In 2014, the late-season dropoff we saw from the aging Hudson was tremendous, and at times it appeared would threaten the club’s third World Series title in five seasons. Had they not made a historic comeback after falling 1-2 to Kansas City, we may be having a different conversation.
The bullpen reeling heading into the All-Star break just might have been the final determining factor for Vogelsong’s ‘pen assignment. If we see early inning struggles by Hudson, or any starter, you will likely see him come in to fill the long-reliever role he filled earlier this year. If San Francisco gives up an early lead, I am certain Boch will turn to Vogelsong to keep the game close.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Ryan Vogelsong in the last five seasons, it’s that you cannot keep him down.