Bay Area Baseball

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April 6, 2013
Vogelsong: Pitches were OK, results not so much in first start

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ryan Vogelsong wasn't too discouraged about his outing today in the Giants' 6-3 loss to the Cardinals. He gave up nine hits, but all were singles. Three of them didn't leave the infield. Vogelsong said he thought the full-count pitch that Carlos Beltran dumped into shallow right for an RBI single in the first broke Beltran's bat. And if Allen Craig's grounder in the fifth isn't just out of Pablo Sandoval's diving reach, he's out of that inning before Beltran delivers a big two-run single.

"Just didn't make enough pitches is what it comes down to," Vogelsong said. "Got into a situation there in the fifth where I just really needed to make one more pitch. It felt like the pitches weren't all that bad, but the results weren't all that good."

Manager Bruce Bochy agreed that Vogelsong caught a tough break with Craig's single. Brandon Crawford might have had a play on the ball -- though it was hit slowly -- but it's Sandoval's ball if he can get to it.

"It's a tough read for an infielder," Bochy said. "Pablo, he's doing all he can to get to it, which is the third baseman's responsibility. I think Crawford was there, he probably could've made the play. It's a fine line in this game."

Vogelsong set down eight hitters in a row at one point and struck out six. It was brought up to Bochy that Vogelsong's velocity was slightly down from last year, but Bochy said that isn't a concern and that he thought Vogelsong's stuff was good.

"Physically I feel fine," Vogelsong agreed. "I feel like I was trying to force the ball a little early, trying to make it do stuff instead of just letting it come out. And I feel like it got better in the middle innings."

* The game story in tomorrow's paper touches on the Giants' slow start hitting with men on base. They left eight on Saturday and Sandoval's single in the third that scored Angel Pagan from second was their second hit in 21 at-bats this season with runners in scoring position.

The Giants were markedly better in the second half last year at getting runners in from scoring position after adding Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence to their lineup, and Bochy said he believes the Giants are just starting slow. Catcher Buster Posey, who was left on second base after doubling with no outs in the eighth, agreed.

"It just doesn't seem like we've had a game yet where we've had some consecutive guys on, a double or a homer," Posey said. "We haven't quite hit that stride as an offense. But I think guys are putting together good at-bats and I feel confident that it'll come."

* As part of the Giants' weekend of festivities, Posey was presented with his 2012 N.L. Most Valuable Player and Silver Slugger awards, along with a ring commemorating his batting title, in an on-field ceremony before the game.

After being largely absent from the Giants' flag-raising Friday, Posey received a standing ovation when he came out of the dugout for the ceremony Saturday to the theme music from "The Natural" and took a seat on the field next to two-time MVP Willie Mays.

Joining Posey on the field were his grandparents and parents, his wife and young twins, and four of the franchise's past MVP winners -- Mays, Willie McCovey, Jeff Kent and Kevin Mitchell. Posey spoke for about two and a half minutes, describing hearing himself named the MVP last fall as a "surreal feeling" and thanking -- among others -- his family, childhood and current coaches, the Giants' staff, fans and teammates.

"It was definitely a different pre-game for me than normal," Posey said afterward. "But it was nice to be able to celebrate that with the fans, have my family here and get to share that with them."

Before the ceremony, Mitchell and Kent both said they don't think Posey -- who just signed a new 9-year, $167 million deal -- should have to consider a position change as long as he wants to remain a catcher.

"You move him, something's going to happen," Mitchell said. "You never know, it might affect his hitting."

Kent said a position change ought to wait until "the writing's on the wall," and that in this case the writing may well be Posey's. If it someday reaches the point where he's waking up with a sore ankle or knees and catching is affecting his ability to be in the lineup every day, Kent hypothesized, Posey might consider a move to a corner infield spot.

"But that's really down the road," Kent said.

As Mitchell was talking to reporters in the dugout Saturday morning, a picture of Posey popped up on the video board in center field.

"Look at him," said Mitchell, the former outfielder and 1989 MVP. "He's like Captain America up there."

The Giants will receive their World Series rings before tomorrow's series finale against the Cardinals.

* Sandoval and Pence each homered in the same game for the second time this season. Pence led off the second with a shot to center off Cardinals starter Shelby Miller, and Sandoval hit his to left-center off Edward Mujica in the eighth. Bochy said he thinks it's a sign of things to come from the Giants, who hit the fewest home runs in baseball last year but are expecting a healthy season from Sandoval and full season of Pence.

"We don't want these guys trying to hit home runs," Bochy said. "But I think when you look at the end of the year, this team is going to have more power."

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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