EXTRA BAGGS: Perplexed Vogelsong will start again, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Perplexed Vogelsong will start again, etc.

PHOENIX Ryan Vogelsong wants an answer.

Is it something in his mechanics? Is he tipping his pitches?Does he need to change his sequences or throw fewer fastballs in two-strikecounts or rub a rabbits foot?

I dont know, said Vogelsong, after the ArizonaDiamondbacks cuffed him for seven runs (six earned) in 3 13 innings Sunday. Idont I dont know.

RECAP: Baggs' Instant Replay -- D'backs 10, Giants 2

Vogelsong has a 10.31 ERA over his last seven starts. Thisone included the numbers 3 13 (as in innings) and seven (as in runs allowed,although one was unearned).

This one also included a three-run triple to an opposingpitcher, Patrick Corbin, who was hitting .071 entering the game.

First things first: Giants manager Bruce Bochy has no plansto rest Vogelsong or push him back or make any other kind of adjustment to therotation.

Every time he goes out there, I feel good about whatsgoing to happen, Bochy said. Hes having his down period but hell come outof it. His stuff is too good. Hes one of our guys. Ill have all theconfidence in the world in him.

So what went wrong Sunday at Chase Field?

He just worked a little too hard and his pitches caught upwith him, Bochy said. Obviously, he made a mistake to the pitcher. But thegood news is his stuff is good. Im encouraged with his stuff. Hes going to befine.

Vogelsong agreed that his stuff is fine. He did not agreethat the pitch to Corbin was a mistake.

Heater up and in, Vogelsong said. It wasnt even astrike.

Upon close inspection of the replay ... Catcher Buster Posey gave Vogelsong a target and ifVogelsong missed, it was by an inch or two. The pitch was on the black, if itwas a strike at all. Corbin turned on it almost like he knew it was coming.

And you had to wonder did he? After all, Vogelsong heldArizona hitters to a single and a walk while striking out five the first timethrough the lineup. Upon a second viewing, they were 5 for 7 with two walks andsome hard contact.

It jogged mymemory: When the Giants got the stuffing kicked out of them here at Chase Fieldin a three-game sweep to begin the season, there were some grumbles aboutwhether the Diamondbacks hitters were getting tipped off.

They were on every pitch, one Giant told me at the time.

I asked Bochy if Vogelsong was tipping anything Sunday.

No, I think its just more he made mistakes there, Bochysaid. He worked hard the first couple innings. Hes just got to back off. Ithink hes going a little too hard here. Its human nature.

Especially when the answers are so elusive.

Really, the only pitch I missed location was on (Justin)Uptons first double, said Vogelsong, referring to the two-run drive high offthe center field wall in the third.

Vogelsong continues to hit 92-93 mph with consistency. Buthes throwing more straight fastballs, and fewer pitches with sink and cut. Hehasnt had confidence in his cutter in recent starts the pitch that broke somany bats two springs ago and got him noticed as a non-roster invitee.

The balls coming out good, Vogelsong said. Thats whythis is getting perplexing because the stuffs there. It doesnt make sense tome right now. I feel healthy. I feel strong. Im just not getting results.

The Giants continue to lead the NL West by 7 games with 16to play; their magic number shrank to nine after the Dodgers lost in extrainnings. They will have tough decisions to make soon regarding the playoffroster and rotation, and its becoming obvious that Barry Zitos star hasrisen. Perhaps Vogelsong, who has much more experience pitching in relief,could make the roster as a long man and piggyback Zito, allowing Bochy to havea quick trigger if he doesnt like what he sees from the left-hander.

But the Giants have a 10-game homestand to glean informationbefore they begin to set up their rotation on the final six-game road trip. Nodecisions need to be made now.

The only call to make now is whether to keep giving Vogelsong the ball.The intense right-hander has one answer, at least.

Ive been on the other side when youre looking over yourshoulder every day, the 35-year-old said. So it means a lot.

Beyond that, its all faith and trust.

Its got to (change), Vogelsong said. I dont see how Ican keep throwing the ball the way I am and getting the results I am. Ivegotta keep fighting through it. Itll turn around. It has to.

Angel Pagan exited in the sixth inning because of lower backstiffness, Bochy said. Its something he has dealt with before and he isexpected to be in the lineup on Monday, the manager said.

Gregor Blancos left shoulder is responding well totreatment but he remains questionable to play Monday. The Giants will face left-handersin the Colorado series Tuesday and Thursday, and its likely that Xavier Nadyshamstring will be improved enough to start for those games. But what will theydo against a right-hander on Monday if they dont have Blanco?

They could play Brandon Belt in left field and Buster Poseyat first base, but then theyre weakening themselves defensively in at leasttwo positions and many will argue three, in spite of Hector Sanchezs recent solidplay behind the plate. Im not sure compromising the defense is a good idea athome behind Madison Bumgarner, when theyre more likely to win 3-2 than 8-7.

Justin Christian, who started Sunday, was 0 for 3 with awalk. Hes now in a 1 for 39 slump and has gone hitless in his last 24 at-bats. His last hit was July 22: a pinch single in the 10th inning off the Phillies Jeremy Horst.

So yes, Christian needs a slumpbuster in the worst way.

Dan Otero struck out Upton on three pitches and Jean Machi looked good. The rest of the fresh horses in the Giants' 14-man bullpen? Not so much.

In other major league news, Omar Vizquel had two hits and isnow one short of matching Babe Ruth (2,873) on the all-time list.

That is staggering. In the minor leagues Vizquel got the batknocked out of his hands. He cried himself to sleep, he was so frustrated thathed never learn to switch hit. When he made his big league debut, nobodynoticed. It was opening day, 1989, and some smiley kid named Ken Griffey Jr.made his debut that same day in Oakland.

Now, more than two decades later, Vizquel not only set astandard for grace and excellence at shortstop. He also learned to hit, andhit, and hit. And now hes one more from matching Babe Goshdarn Ruth.

Cant wait for the Hall of Fame speech.

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

MiLB/Sacramento River Cats

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

Every time the Journey song “Lights” plays throughout AT&T Park, the lyrics When the lights go down in the City ring too true for the Giants’ offense. There’s a power outage in San Francisco. 

The savior to this issue can soon be prospect Chris Shaw, who turns 24 years old on Oct. 20. Shaw, along with five other Giants prospects, is continuing his 2017 season among a multitude of baseball’s best young up-and-comers in the Arizona Fall League. As he takes the field for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Shaw’s bat is far from the top focus for the Giants. 

After playing right and left field at Boston College, the Giants turned Shaw into a first baseman once they selected the 6-foot-4, 235-pound lefty in 2015. This year, the Giants’ front office decided to make a change. As the big league team continued to look for their own answers, Shaw saw himself in left field in 94 of the 125 games he played between Double-A and Triple-A this season. 

“I saw improvements through the course of the year,” Brian Sabean said about Shaw’s outfield defense on The Giants Insider Podcast. “The problem is playing left field in our left field isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.” 

The AFL is all about reps in left field for Shaw as the Giants have already said he will get a long look in spring training. He earned that right after a breakout year at the plate.

One week into the AFL though, Shaw’s bat is way behind. Through four games, Shaw is batting a pedestrian .133 (2-for-15), both hits being singles. But even in such a slow start there are positives. 

Shaw has walked three times to only two strikeouts. His only downfall at the plate once he reached Triple-A Sacramento was his on-base percentage fell from .390 in Double-A to .328 at the higher level. With the River Cats, Shaw struck out 106 times, leading the team, while taking his base 20 times.

One week in the desert, Shaw is showing more patience and putting the ball into play more often. The ball simply isn’t finding grass.

In the outfield, every ball Shaw sees -- practice or game -- during the AFL is a step in the right direction for he and the Giants. He is yet to make an error in his short time at the AFL. The big lefty will never be a guy to make the spectacular play, but if he improves his instincts with the glove and improves his eye at the plate, the Giants can finally have their left fielder of the future. 

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.