Giants

EXTRA BAGGS: A win-win for Vogelsong, etc.

899897.jpg

EXTRA BAGGS: A win-win for Vogelsong, etc.

SAN DIEGO Ryan Vogelsong kept saying he wouldnt besatisfied until he improved on his breakout season in 2011.

His rough, seven-start run prevented him from contending foran ERA title. But Vogelsong did manage to win his 14th game Fridaynight one more than he won a year ago.

Pitcher wins are flawed metrics. They arevariable-dependent. Theyve lost meaning to most people who observe, dissectand evaluate the game.

Except pitchers.

At this point, I just wanted to carry my last start intothis start and stay on a good roll going into the postseason, Vogelsong said.

Long, long, long pause.

Ill take it, though, he added, smiling.

Vogelsong is adding food for thought as the Giants continueto shoot around playoff rotation possibilities. Over his last two outings, hehas held the San Diego Padres to one earned run in six innings.

Sure, thePadres are not the Washington Nationals or Cincinnati Reds. And if Vogelsongstarts for the Giants in an NL Division Series game, hell almost certainly bepitching on the road in a venue quite a bit more confining than Petco Park.

But for the second start in a row, he had crisper stuff andhe found ways to escape jams. The first two innings, he struggled with a moundthat didnt seem to match the one in the bullpen. Once he settled in, he keptthe ball off the barrel.

Vogelsong has much more experience in relief than Barry Zito, who is routine oriented, or Tim Lincecum, who gets ready in a hurry but has really struggled in the first inning. So it's still the most likely scenario that Vogelsong will be used to back up those two pitchers, allowing manager Bruce Bochy to keep a shorter leash on them if they get into trouble.

But did Vogelsong's last two starts change the postseason rotationconversation?

Weve always had all the confidence in the world in Vogey,even during his tough times, said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, displaying adeft soft-shoe. These last two starts hes been on track and its the Vogey weknow.

Bochy also mentioned how well Zito has pitched and how itsnice to have the guys where theyre at to make these decisions more hard tomake.

The manager did not mention Tim Lincecum, either because hisplace in a postseason rotation is not presumed to be in jeopardy or becauseBochy didnt want to send up that signal flare as a possibility.

Either way, Lincecums start on Sunday here will be a very, verybig deal whether he gets the win or not

--
I didnt get the chance to speak with Marco Scutaro afterthe game. He was taken out in the fourth inning because of head and chestcongestion, and Bochy said he was too sick to continue. We should know moretomorrow.

If you follow GameCast on MLB.com, you probably saw that Scutaro left the game with what was described as a "head injury." That's not true, unless he sneezed and hit his head on the recoil

--
Sergio Romo was a curious sight in his gray sweatshirt duringthe ninth inning. Not only did Bochy bypass Romo to use Santiago Casilla, buthe had Guillermo Mota get warm when Casilla allowed the tying runs to reach ona pair of singles.

But Casilla got out of the jam to save the 3-1 victory, andBochy said nothing was wrong with Romo. He just wanted to give his primaryright-handed closer the night off after throwing 21 pitches a night earlier.(Romo has exceeded 21 pitches on just two other occasions this season.)

Casilla will be off Saturday, Bochy said.

--
I cannot believe I missed rookie dress-up day. The Giants skippedthe annual hazing tradition last year, which tells you a lot about the state ofthat clubhouse down the stretch as they failed to reach the playoffs to defendtheir World Series championship.

That meant double the hazees this time around, and JavierLopez found head-to-toe Lycra body suits in all different shades. (Nice touchgiving Northwestern purple to George Kontos.)

Brandon Belt told me today that the rookies didnt just haveto wear the suits on the bus and the plane and into the hotel lobby when theyarrived in San Diego Thursday night. The veterans paraded the rookies down the streets of theGaslamp District, too.

My favorite anecdote: The Mercs Alex Pavlovic overheardMatt Cain, upon discovering Jean Machi putting styling gel in his hair. Nonecesito, Cain yelled at him.

Hunter Pence changing positions to accommodate Andrew McCutchen

Hunter Pence changing positions to accommodate Andrew McCutchen

SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew McCutchen has spent his entire career as a center fielder. With a new team comes a new position. 

Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed on Tuesday that McCutchen will move to right field for the Giants, with Hunter Pence sliding over from right to left. Bochy said he talked to McCutchen about the plan -- one the Giants had throughout the McCutchen chase -- after Monday's trade. 

"I'm looking forward to right field," McCutchen said. "That's one place people can't pick on me saying that my defensive metrics are so bad. I'm looking forward to playing right. I know there's a lot of room out there to run, so it's definitely going to be almost like playing center."

McCutchen said he's looking forward to picking Pence's brain about patrolling right field at AT&T Park. Bochy has already spoken to Pence and said his longtime right fielder is on board with the plan. 

"He's just so excited about getting Cutch on this club that he's good with anything or whatever is best for this club," Bochy said. "So that's the plan right now."

McCutchen has played 11,621 defensive innings in his career and all but 115 1/3 of them have been in center field. He briefly moved to right field last season but shifted back to center when Starling Marte was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. McCutchen was a Gold Glove Award winner in 2012 but his defensive metrics tailed off in recent seasons. He was worth negative 28 Defensive Runs Saved in 2016 and was at negative 16 DRS last season. 

McCutchen had wanted to stay in center in Pittsburgh, but said it's a new case with a new team.

"I wasn’t too keen on (moving at first) because I felt that I had more there, that I could do something there (in center)," he said. "I honored (the Pirates) once they wanted me to play a little shallower and that backfired on me. I was basically asking for another shot but I didn’t get that chance or opportunity. But now that I’m going into the Giants organization and this is something they want me to do, I’m all for it.

"San Francisco has a huge field. It’s bigger than PNC Park. They’ve got Triples Alley and it’s called Triples Alley for a reason. For me, it’s another center field. I’m moving over a little and if it’s saving my legs and I can get more stolen bases, I’m all game and I’m all for it.”

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

mccutchen-andrew-pink-panik.jpg
USATSI

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — There was a sense of celebration within the Giants organization on Monday after the addition of Andrew McCutchen. He is easily their best outfielder, a potential solution atop the order, and a player who is known for being a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. 

If the Giants had any doubts, though, they surely felt better after seeing the quotes that came out of Pittsburgh. In a series of statements, Pirates officials made it clear this was a difficult trade to make, with chairman Bob Nutting calling it “one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure.”

Nutting, in a statement, said that McCutchen’s smile and energy were infectious even as a teenager. Later, McCutchen got the Pirates to three straight postseason appearances. 

“He did so while always carrying himself with humility, dignity and grace,” Nutting said. 

Team president Frank Coonelly described the trade as painful. 

“(No) individual was more responsible for the success that we had from 2013 to 2015 than Cutch,” Coonelly said in a statement,” And no player was more disappointed than Andrew that we did not break through and win a World Series Championship for the City of Pittsburgh.”

McCutchen was Pittsburgh’s first-round selection in the 2005 draft and made his debut in 2009. In nine seasons with the Pirates, he was a five-time All-Star and a perennial MVP candidate. He won the award in 2013 and finished in the top five of voting for four consecutive seasons. 

General manager Neal Huntington said the decision to actually part with the franchise player was “incredibly difficult.”

“Watching Andrew patrol center field with grace, fly around the bases, drive the ball all around the ballpark, celebrate with his teammates or interact with his family, friends or fans has created lifelong memories for me and many, many others around the game of baseball,” he said.