Programming note: Nationals-Giants pregame coverage starts on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with "October Quest."
SAN FRANCISCO – Ryan Vogelsong rose to the occasion as a playoff rookie two years ago.
Now he’ll take the ball Tuesday for the Giants in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, looking to close out the Washington Nationals and avoid a deciding fifth game in the nation’s capital.
“I’m excited,” Vogelsong said. “Obviously it would have been nice to finish it up (Monday), but, you know, these are the times that you play this game for.”
The Giants mustered just six hits in a 4-1 loss Monday in Game 3 at AT&T Park, which shaved their series lead to 2-1. It’s a pressure situation for Vogelsong, but it won’t trump the conditions he thrived in back in 2012.
Six times that fall, the Giants won games in which they faced elimination. Vogelsong, making his postseason debut at age 35, delivered strong starts in two of them. He threw five innings of three-hit ball in Game 3 against Cincinnati in the NLDS, and he held the Cardinals to one run over seven innings in Game 6 of the NLCS. The Giants would go on to sweep the Tigers in the World Series. Vogelsong got the win in Game 3 against Detroit, finishing the postseason with a sterling 1.09 ERA over four starts.
“It definitely helps being through it one time,” Vogelsong said of the playoff pressure. “I think more so, you learn how to curb the emotions, the adrenaline. It definitely helps, but every game is different. Every pitch is different.”
The right-hander went 8-13 with a 4.00 ERA over an up-and-down 2014 regular season.
“He’s a great competitor,” Giants catcher Buster Posey said. “I’m sure he’ll have a good game plan coming into it and I expect he’ll execute it."