Has Ryan Vogelsong reached the end?
Giants fans hope not. They love a feel-good story, and Vogelsong's odyssey qualifies.
He was a highly regarded rookie with the team 13 years ago, a big, rangy flame-thrower. After being traded to Pittsburgh in 2001, surgery and struggles saw him wash out of the majors, and he ended up in Japan for three nothing-special seasons, then hit bottom in the minors in 2010.
His resurrection in 2011 and the solid follow-up season that included a key role in the 2012 World Series triumph made him a San Francisco folk hero and a key piece of the Giants' rotation as possibly the best fifth starter in the majors.
Observers said he had finally figured it all out, melding good health with veteran savvy, well-honed mechanics and a bulldog attitude.
But he's the least-effective starting pitcher in the National League this season, and with each sour start the question isn't, "When will he get it together?" but, "Is his time in the spotlight over?"
The team hopes Vogelsong will rediscover his groove, and with few good options to replace him, the sooner the better. But fifth starters come and go all the time. It won't take many more four-inning outings before someone else is penciled in.
Maybe after such a long time casting about for big-league success, Vogelsong's magical ride had to have a short shelf life. Maybe those two fine seasons where he burned his eminence into Giants' fans hearts is the final payoff for his hard work.
If so, it's over too soon, but it certainly could be over.
What to watch
Baseball, Giants at Colorado, 5:10 p.m., CSNBA: Can Tim Lincecum put together back-to-back impressive outings.
What will happen to struggling Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong?
He'll regain form.
He'll go to bullpen.
He'll be waived.
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What do you most like about the River Cats?
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Raley Field: 34%
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It's baseball: 30%
Total votes: 150
Call The Bee's Brian Blomster, (916) 326-5512. Follow him on Twitter @b_blomster.