Nationals trade power for precision to bludgeon Giants


Nationals trade power for precision to bludgeon Giants

SAN FRANCISCO First item of note: No Giants were harmed inthe making of a most atrocious 14-2 loss to the Washington Nationals Mondaynight.

Ryan Vogelsong took a shot off his backside, another off hisright shoulder, and most notably, a direct hit to his formerly NL-bestearned-run average. (It went from 2.27 to 2.72.)

Surely he suffered a bruised ego, right?

Im not frustrated at all by this, said Vogelsong, whogave up eight runs in 2 23 innings. The disappointing thing is I felt goodand my stuff was good. Things just didnt go right.

Thats putting it mildly. The Giants were outclassed by theteam with the best record in the major leagues. Theyve been outscored 38-14 infour losses to the Nationals. And theyll need a flinty performance fromMadison Bumgarner, who gets thrown into the breech Tuesday night.

Vogelsong, such a stingy competitor on the mound, simplycouldnt stop a barrage of hits that deflected off bodies and gloves.

I dont think sharpness was the issue, he said. I just didntget them to hit the ball at anybody. Its part of the game. Sometimes the balldoesnt bounce your way and thngs dont go right. It didnt go right tonight.

It was the first time all season that Vogelsong didntcomplete at least six innings. His streak ended at 22 such starts. And theeight earned runs doubled his previous season high.

So many times, Vogelsong has pointed to his lack of a trackrecord while saying he still has so much to prove as a successful major leaguestarter. This time, his solid track record in 2012 provided the comfort.

Whats easy to put it behind me is that Ive got the restof this season and what Ive been able to do, he said. One start wontaffect me. When youre in a long season, a start like this will happen. Youturn the page, even though its hard to take and Ill probably lose some sleepover it.

Vogelsong said he only regretted one pitch the fastballdown the middle that Kurt Suzuki lined for a three-run double that completedthe seven-run third inning.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy was long gone by then, havingdouble-timed it to the mound after first base umpire Mike Estabrook calledRoger Bernadina safe with yet another infield single with the bases loaded.This one was a rocket that glanced off Vogelsongs shoulder to second basemanRyan Theriot, whose throw appeared to be in time.

I didnt need to watch it, said Bochy, asked if he saw areplay. It was closer than I thought, but that didnt play a part in the game.Theres not a lot to say. Vogey has been so good. Hes been as consistent asanyone. They placed the ball well and we just couldnt stop it.

Its a rough day at the yard.

The yard was supposed to be the Giants salvation. They sawplenty of fireworks over July 4 weekend at Washington, when the Nationals keptshooting opposite-field home runs to right field and right-center. That wasntgoing to happen at AT&T Park, with its breeze, crisp air and high arcade.

But the Nationals traded the home run for anotherbludgeoning tool. Their lineup kept making hard contact, and it was uncanny howwell they placed their ground balls.

They were all tough plays, Bochy said. A couple balls oneinch the other way and he gets out of that inning.

Instead, neither Vogelsong nor Bochy saw the fourth. And giventhe outcome, perhaps there were some in the sellout crowd who wished they couldvetraded places.

Its been a great run hes been on, and I told him thatwhen he came out, Bochy said of Vogelsong. It was one of those games. Whatcould go wrong went wrong.

At least the Giants made the right decision prior to the first pitch, when they decided to keep a 13th pitcher while finding a roster space to activate third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

Were in pretty good shape, considering, Bochy said.

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


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.