TORONTO – The Giants and Ryan Vogelsong are back in the same place they were five days ago.
Vogelsong is trying to find encouragement in the few things that went right in another abbreviated start. And the Giants are trying to figure out if they have any better short-term options for their rotation.
Manager Bruce Bochy wouldn’t say whether or not Vogelsong would take his next turn, which would be Monday when the Giants start a homestand against the Washington Nationals. The club could give their inspirational right-hander a timeout and hand the ball to Chad Gaudin, who actually threw more pitches (72) in 3 1/3 relief innings than Vogelsong did in his two (64).
[INSTANT REPLAY: Blue Jays blow out Giants]
“I don’t want to say now what we may do or (spell out) our options,” Bochy said. “He’s fighting. He’s really fighting hard.”
Vogelsong was fighting an uphill battle in the rain. Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro made errors that allowed two of the first four batters to reach base, opening up what became a five-run first inning that was every bit as ghastly as Barry Zito’s opening frame a day earlier.
“It’s not always sunshine and roses out there, you know?” Vogelsong said. “You’ve got to find a way to play through it and get outs.”
Vogelsong is now 1-4 with an 8.06 ERA. He allowed his 10th and 11th home runs of the season Wednesday while making his shortest major league outing in almost nine years. He owns one quality start out of eight.
Yet it was hard to evaluate his night. As Bochy pointed out, the errors caused him to work harder and throw more pitches, which might have affected his location as the Blue Jays added three more runs in the second inning
“Probably the worst thing that could have happened happened for Vogey,” Bochy said. “We’re trying all we can to get him in track. He’s trying his hardest. You work as hard as he did and you’ll lose a little command.”
Bochy also acknowledged that “I think Vogey will tell you he made some mistakes.”
Bochy went out to see Vogelsong amid the second inning, to make sure he still felt OK physically. He had hoped to save his bullpen a little longer with four games looming at Coors Field. But when Vogelsong ran another deep count before getting through the inning, Bochy decided he’d seen enough.
“I don’t want three innings and 80 pitches,” he said. “That’s when you start to get concerned.”
Vogelsong, for his part, was asked if he still felt like he was close to turning things around, as he maintained in his previous start.
“Yeah, absolutely,” he said. “Things have got to turn in my favor eventually. I shattered two bats. I mean, I sawed them off and they went for two hits. You’ve just got to ride it out, make the best pitch possible every pitch.”
He was referring to singles by Brett Lawrie and Emilio Bonifacio in the first inning.
“I thought I made some pitches that were really good and they hit some pitches that were bad,” Vogelsong said. “It’s not the way I wanted this start (to go), but at the end of the day, you’ve got to get it done.”
Even several of Vogelsong’s outs were hit hard. Melky Cabrera lined out to start the game and it took a lineout double play from Munenori Kawasaki to get out of the inning.
It was not a good series to test the outfielders. Neither Marco Scutaro nor Angel Pagan made any excuses for balls that hit their gloves but they failed to secure.
If the Giants gave a start to Gaudin, they might look to give Vogelsong a selected inning in relief to get his bearings. That’s the tack they took with Matt Cain earlier in his career, and with Jonathan Sanchez, too.
The Giants don’t have another day off till Thursday, so they couldn’t otherwise juggle the rotation to skip Vogelsong or give him more time.
Then again, the Giants might be tempted to just throw out these two games in Toronto as a series that happened in a parallel universe.
“I can’t think back to when we had two identical games where we made mistakes in the first inning like this,” Bochy said. “The big number killed us. It’s hard to explain, but it happened and we’ve got to move on.”