Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong recorded the first two outs of the first inning Saturday quickly on six pitches. But Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt then singled up the middle to put Vogelsong in the stretch for the first time – and that’s when the trouble started.
Goldschmidt was the first of six consecutive Diamondbacks to reach base in the inning, including four on walks. Two of those walks came with the bases loaded, forcing in runs, and when Vogelsong finally ended the inning by getting opposing starter Allen Webster to line out on his 39th pitch, Arizona had scored three times en route to a 4-2 win at AT&T Park.
“He just got out of sync,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Vogelsong. “He was yanking pitches and missing his spots.”
Many of Vogelsong’s misses were to his glove side of home plate – the outside corner to right-handed hitters – and not close. He walked Aaron Hill and Jarrod Saltalamacchia on five pitches each, then got ahead of Nick Ahmed 1-2 before losing him as well to force in the third run.
Vogelsong said he “just was off out of the stretch. I was trying to make adjustments and just couldn’t put it together.” He said he had felt “right where I wanted to be” warming up in the bullpen, but that, “Somewhere between there and that first inning out of the stretch, things weren’t right.”
Vogelsong appeared to settle down some after the first inning – he didn’t allow a run in the second or third, facing four batters out of the stretch and retiring all four. Still, he said he “just never really got in sync.” He was trying to make adjustments but said he had trouble locating the source of the problem.
“Sometimes diagnosing the issue is the hardest thing,” he said. “I was trying to fix stuff and I just wasn’t hitting what was wrong.”
The Diamondbacks got to Vogelsong again in the fourth, with Goldschmidt’s two-out RBI single knocking him out after 81 pitches. Just 42 of those pitches were strikes, as Vogelsong failed to complete at least five innings for just the second time since he re-joined the rotation in late April.
“I think the pitches caught up with him,” Bochy said. “He regrouped and was throwing the ball well, but it caught up with him later. The first inning really killed us there.”
After going 4-0 with a 1.14 ERA in May, Vogelsong has made three starts in June and lost all three while allowing 12 earned runs in 161/3 innings – a 6.61 ERA. Bochy said he isn’t noticing any major changes in Vogelsong’s delivery to explain the change and that Vogelsong’s stuff Saturday was “good.”
“That first inning sometimes, it’s the case with a lot of starters – you’re trying to get settled in and he looked like he was trying to be a little careful with runners in scoring position and just missed some spots,” Bochy said. “But the stuff is fine; he’s healthy. He’ll bounce back.”
▪ The three-run first was enough as for the second consecutive day, as the Giants’ offense looked lost for the first half of the game against an unfamiliar Arizona right-hander. This time it was Webster, just called up from Triple A. He held the Giants hitless until the sixth – a day after Chase Anderson carried a no-hit bid into the seventh. It was the first time the Giants gave gone hitless for the first five innings of consecutive games since Sept. 24-25, 1986, against the Houston Astros.
Joe Panik broke it up Saturday with a one-out double off Webster that gave the Giants runners on second and third, and this time they capitalized on the scoring chance. Angel Pagan drove in Nori Aoki with a sacrifice fly, and Panik scored when Buster Posey doubled down the left-field line.
Brandon Belt grounded out to end the inning, though, and the Giants put men in scoring position in the eighth and ninth but failed to drive them in as they lost their seventh in a row at home.
“The offense right now, we’re out of sync,” Bochy said. “We’ve been swinging the bat so well, and (this was) a similar game to (Friday) night: the first five innings, guys looked dead.”
Bochy floated the idea that the Giants are still feeling the aftereffects of an all-night flight home from New York. “It might have taken a little life out of them,” he said. “But it’s a part of the game. We need to bounce back and be ready to go (Sunday).”
Belt was also asked if the travel situation is still affecting the team and said: “I wouldn’t say it helped. I don’t know that it hurt any. But that’s just part of the game. We have to overcome stuff like that. We haven’t done a good job of that the past couple days.”
As for the unfamiliarity factor with Anderson -- who was facing the Giants for the first time -- and Webster, Belt said that “could play a part in it.” But he also pointed out that Belt himself had faced Anderson in college and the minors. “So that’s not an excuse on my part,” he said.
“We’re definitely underachieving the past couple of days,” Belt said. “You’ve got to give some credit to them, making good pitches, keeping us off-balance. But I think it’s something we don’t expect to continue.”
▪ Vogelsong’s quick exit left the bullpen with a lot of work, and that included the major-league debut of right-hander Michael Broadway, who pitched a scoreless seventh.
Broadway struck out the first batter he faced, Jake Lamb, on three pitches, and got Goldschmidt to fly out. Yasmany Tomas singled but was thrown out by Posey trying to steal second, which elicited an emphatic reaction from Broadway as he left the mound.
“He looked comfortable,” Bochy said. “He didn’t look nervous at all. He threw strikes, had good stuff, throwing 96, he’s got a good slider. And for his first time out, he showed a lot of poise.”
Broadway went down to the bullpen twice to warm up, and said the first time he was nervous, but the second time “wasn’t as bad. When I got into the game, it was gone.”
What caught Belt’s eye immediately were the readings on the radar guy. Broadway’s first pitch was a 96-mph fastball for strike, and he sat between 95 and 97 mph while hitting 98 once. He also threw a slider at 86 to 89 mph, which Posey called for six out of 14 pitches.
As Bochy touched on Saturday, the addition of Broadway alongside Hunter Strickland gives the Giants’ bullpen a velocity aspect of which it hasn’t had much in recent years. Entering Saturday, FanGraphs had the Giants 28th in the majors this season in relievers’ average fastball velocity (90.5 mph). With the addition of Broadway, that will go up.
“I had no expectations. I’d never seen him pitch before,” Belt said. “He came in pumping 96, 98. That was pretty cool.”
Broadway was all smiles after the game and showed reporters the keepsakes he received from his debut: the ball from his first strikeout, and Bochy’s lineup card for the game. He said he felt “more comfortable than I thought I would,” and credited Posey with making the transition to a big-league mound relatively easy.
“It helps a lot when you’re with a competitive team,” Broadway said. “When you’re on a team like that … it takes your mind off of whatever else is going on.”
▪ Bochy said he will have to rest a couple of regulars in Sunday’s series finale, including Pagan and Posey. That likely means Andrew Susac behind the plate to catch Chris Heston – making his first start since his no-hitter – and another start for Jarrett Parker, who made his big-league debut in right field Saturday and went 0 for 3. Keep an eye out for Justin Maxwell possibly in center field.
The pitching matchup will be Heston (6-4, 3.77) and Diamondbacks right-hander Rubby De La Rosa (4-3, 5.84). First pitch at 1:05 p.m.