SAN DIEGO — The Giants, maybe more than any team in baseball, are built to handle short starts. They’re currently carrying eight relief pitchers, including two — Ryan Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit — who have started games this season.
Still, Bruce Bochy doesn’t exactly like walking out to the mound this often.
Tim Hudson was the latest Giant to go short, handing over a bases-loaded situation in the fifth and watching the rest of a 4-2 loss to the Padres from the sidelines. The Giants have played 15 games in July and the starting pitcher has gotten through six innings just seven times. Only twice in those 15 games has Bochy had a starter get through seven innings.
“We’re trying to get these guys to get deeper,” he said. “It’s nice to have two guys down there like Petit and Vogelsong to help us out and give us some innings. They gave some guys a break (tonight but) we’re going to have to try to stay with (the starters) a little longer. We have a day off on Thursday and I think we’ll be fine until the day off, but it’s going to be important that these guys start giving us some length.”
Hudson, in his first start off the DL, needed 28 pitches to get out of the first and wasn’t much more efficient than that. He threw 96 pitches before being pulled with no outs in the fifth, handing a rough situation over to Petit, who allowed just one of the three runners on base to score. Petit and Vogelsong took the Giants home, but the lineup couldn’t get to Ian Kennedy and the Padres bullpen.
Hudson said he felt fine physically after nearly a month off, but his fastball command was a big issue. The Padres’ big hit was a two-run homer from Matt Kemp on a sinker that was supposed to be away but leaked back over the plate.
“Obviously I wasn’t as sharp as I would like to be,” Hudson said. “It was a labor-intensive day at the office for sure. From a mechanics standpoint and sharpness standpoint, it’s something we’ve got to get better at.”
After using his bullpen so often during a sweep in Phoenix, Bochy had hoped to save some bullets down here in San Diego. Hudson knew it, but he wasn’t able to help out.
“We do have to pitch deeper into games, for sure,” he said. “I feel it’s our responsibility (as starters) to take some heat off of those guys.”
[RELATED: Giants designate Jean Machi for assignment]
Vogelsong pitched two innings on Friday night to earn a win and gave up one hit over two scoreless innings Monday. He has looked sharp since the start of May, but Bochy said there is no talk of making further changes to the rotation. Hudson has a 4.76 ERA but the staff isn’t discussing replacing him.
“This is our rotation, what we have right now,” Bochy said. “We’re going to run with it.”
--- Pro tip to opposing players: If you're on the bases and you're thinking of advancing, look around and make sure Brandon Crawford doesn't have the ball. The shortstop threw out two runners at third in Arizona and he got Matt Kemp leaning at first today with a brilliant running throw.
"He's so athletic and has such great game-awareness," Bochy said.
It's really too bad that Andrelton Simmons is in the National League and has such a stranglehold. Crawford deserves to win a Gold Glove one of these years.
--- Buster Posey has 14 hits in his last 29 at-bats and 23 RBI over his last 19 games. Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt are front-runners, but Posey is sneaking into that MVP race.
--- Gregor Blanco has four career homers at AT&T Park and four career homers at AT&T Park South. Speaking of this place, I make fun of the Padres/AT&T Park South thing on Twitter a lot, but props to the Padres for making it such an event when Craig Kimbrel comes into the game. They've got "Welcome to the Jungle" shaking the park, flashing lights, fire, the whole thing. Not a lot of teams do that these days, and it makes for a pretty good show.