San Francisco Giants, Giants manager Bruce Bochy still has a few tough decisions to make before the National League Division Series kicks off next weekend, and Ryan Vogelsong isn’t making Bochy’s job any easier. Vogelsong bulled his way through six innings in a 3-1 victory Friday over the San Diego Padres, giving up just an unearned run. After a slump that lasted more than a month, Vogelsong has thrown six strong innings in consecutive starts, giving up 10 total hits and one earned run while striking out eight.
“We’ve always had all the confidence in the world in Vogey,” Bochy said. “He’s really commanding the ball well and being the Vogey we know, and it’s great to have him throwing well.
“We’ll decide what the (playoff) rotation is, but it’s nice to have guys where they’re at right now.”
Vogelsong already has been assured a playoff roster spot, and Friday he showed the kind of determination that could put him back in the mix to start a postseason game. Vogelsong was hit hard in the first inning as he struggled to adjust to the slope of the mound but escaped without giving up a run. He cruised through the middle innings, retiring 10 of 11 Padres at one point. The lone batter to reach during the stretch, Chris Denorfia, did so on a throwing error and was promptly picked off at first base.
A single followed by an error put two runners on with no outs in the sixth inning. But after giving up a run-scoring single, Vogelsong struck out Denorfia and got Cameron Maybin to hit into an inning-ending double play.
“That’s what I was doing the whole first half (of the season),” Vogelsong said. “To be able to do that tonight feels good. I’m just trying to stay on a good roll here going into the postseason.”
Vogelsong picked up his 14th win, a career-high. His next start will come on the regular season’s final day and might be a big one depending on how a few of the other playoff rotation candidates fare in their final starts.
Bochy has yet to line up his postseason rotation, but it’s likely that Tim Lincecum will be an integral part. Whenever Lincecum takes the mound in October, he’ll do so with Hector Sanchez catching, not Buster Posey.
Sanchez has been Lincecum’s primary catcher in the second half as the right-hander has gone 7-5 with a 3.67 ERA. Lincecum was 3-10 with a 6.42 ERA before the All-Star break.
Bochy said the decision to pair Lincecum and Sanchez in the postseason was not made at Lincecum’s request.
“This is my preference, really,” Bochy said. “I just like the way it’s gone in the second half.”
Posey has started at first base on nights when he doesn’t catch Lincecum and would do so in the playoffs, Bochy said. The manager also would like to keep regular first baseman Brandon Belt’s bat in the lineup by having him as an option in left field and is likely to have Belt start there Sunday.
Posey is scheduled to be off Sunday, and after a scare in Friday night’s game, Bochy is considering giving his prized cleanup hitter an extra day of rest Saturday. A curveball skipped off the dirt and hit Posey in the throat in the second inning.
“I could see the seam marks on his Adam’s apple,” Vogelsong said. “He’s a tough son of a gun. If I was hit in the throat while I was catching, I’d probably be lying on the trainer’s table.”