Programming note: For the most comprehensive World Series coverage, watch "SportsNet Central: October Quest" today at 4 p.m., and immediately after Game 4, on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants understandably feel good about starting ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner in Game 5 of the World Series.
But they also like their coverage options in Game 6, with both Yusmeiro Petit and Ryan Vogelsong backing up Jake Peavy when the series returns to Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.
The question they’ll begin to answer by the end of next week: which of those three pitchers will align behind Bumgarner and Matt Cain in the 2015 rotation?
Petit is under club control for two more seasons, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged the control artist deserves consideration for a starting spot next year.
Peavy and Vogelsong will be free agents.
The Giants already have dug deck footings with Peavy about a new contract, although they understand he has a desire to test the market. He’s also four years younger than Vogelsong, so the market likely would be more competitive for his services.
But given their lack of upper-level pitching prospects in the system, the way several of their more promising arms stalled out this year, the fact Cain will be coming off elbow and ankle procedures, Tim Hudson will be turning 40 one day before the next All-Star Game, and of course, the flickering candle that is Tim Lincecum, the Giants have good reason to bring the entire three-piece band back together.
And that’s after they set aside scratch to make their best run at re-signing third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
In any scenario, Petit will be a part of the plan.
“This guy has been a savior both in the ‘pen and when we’ve needed him to start,” said Bochy, one day after Petit tossed three shutout innings to earn his first World Series victory in an 11-4 win in Game 4. “This is something we’re very much aware of, that he can start, too.”
This offseason, wouldn’t it be easier to acquire a long reliever from the outside world than another starter?
“I’d agree with that, sure,” Bochy said.
Even if Petit comes into camp as a starting pitcher next spring, and the Giants find a way to re-sign Peavy, there still might be a chair for Vogelsong. The right-hander only lasted 2 2/3 innings in his Game 4 start – the shortest by a Giant since Livan Hernandez in Game 7 in 2002 at Anaheim – but Bochy threw his hat in the dugout because he was frustrated by the right-hander’s performance.
“I just felt for him,” said Bochy, who bared his pate after a chopper found a seam and Vogelsong couldn’t quite find first base with his foot. “I mean, this guy was making great pitches, and we couldn't get that last out. I think if he gets out of that inning, he throws a nice game for us. He had buzzard’s luck, and there's not much you can do about it.”
The pitches piled up for Vogelsong, and a walk and two RBI hits later, he was out of the game.
“Despite everything that happened tonight, I had great stuff,” the right-hander said. “That’s the best I’ve felt I’ve been in awhile. That’s why giving up four runs, that’s tough to take. That’s the first time in a long time I can remember being on the mound with all four pitches working.”
Bochy apologized to Vogelsong after the game. It’s been a buzzard’s luck kind of year for him. He started the tarp game at Wrigley Field. He gave up a broken-bat, RBI hit to end his regular season with a 3.996 ERA – which will be rounded up to 4.00 on his baseball card.
“I kidded him about it,” Bochy said. “But it’s been a fact. He’s had horrible luck. I don’t’ think his numbers are indicative of how he’s pitched.”
When the Giants brass gets together to review their internal free agents, “I’m sure those things will come up,” Bochy said.
For now, Vogelsong can lay claim to this: The Giants are 7-0 in his postseason starts. Now he hopes they can be undefeated when and if he appears as a World Series reliever.
“I’ll be the first one in his office tomorrow,” Vogelsong said after Saturday’s win. “I want to be in the bullpen the rest of the way. I don’t care if I threw 100 pitches. I’d be ready for the next few games."