Game 2 pitching matchups: Vogelsong vs. Carpenter


Game 2 pitching matchups: Vogelsong vs. Carpenter

SAN FRANCISCO When the Giants needed to run the three-game table in Cincinnati, they sent the perfect, pugnacious pitcher to the mound to start their improbable task.The Giants need just as much fight from Ryan Vogelsong now.After dropping Game 1 of the NLCS to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Giants need a win behind Vogelsong on Monday to split these first two games at home and reduce the series to a best-of-5 proposition.Vogelsong is coming off a determined start in which he held the Reds to a run in five innings, but he couldnt go deeper because of a pitch count that reached 95. Because Vogelsong has a stand-and-fight mentality, hell run deep counts to get the result he wants. The Cardinals are a feisty, deep and patient group, too. So Vogelsong will be hard pressed to work efficiently.EXTRA BAGGS: Vogelsong hears from an old friend before NLDS, etc.
The Giants could use length from a starting pitcher, though. The rotation, the supposed strength of the team, has recorded a grand total of two outs beyond the fifth inning in six postseason games.Vogelsong had a tremendous outing in his only start this season against the Cardinals, holding them to three hits and three walks while striking out three in seven shutout innings of a 15-0 victory on Aug. 8. The right-hander led the NL with a 2.27 ERA after that start, but then a run of rough outings took him off the leaderboard.Vogelsong doesnt have much history against most Cardinals hitters, with the exception of Carlos Beltran who is 4 for 11 with two doubles and a homer.Unlike Madison Bumgarner, who refuses to use a slide step, Vogelsong holds runners exceptionally well. They stole just 10 bases in 19 attempts against him.Vogelsong opposes Chris Carpenter, who has his own comeback story to tell. The right-hander was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the World Series last season but didnt take the mound again until Sept. 21 because of shoulder and neck pain.After several months of rehab, Carpenter underwent an odd procedure that is growing in popularity among major league pitchers: he had a rib removed to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, in which nerve canals are compressed as they exit the trunk.Carpenter was 0-2 with a 3.71 ERA in three regular-season starts, then came up huge in his first postseason outing on Wednesday. He held the Washington Nationals to seven hits in 5 23 scoreless innings. It was the first time all season he exceeded 100 pitches, and he probably wont be allowed to throw many more than that against the Giants.STATS: St. Louis Cardinals full roster
There arent many Giants who have hit Carpenter well over his career, although Ryan Theriot is 7 for 15 against him. Hunter Pence has the most experience but is just a .182 hitter (4 for 22) with a home run and a triple.Theres a good chance the team that scores first will win. Both bullpens combined to give up just one hit over 10 23 innings in Game 1.

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."