SCOTTSDALE -- Not one to let a bad outing roll lightly off his back, Ryan Vogelsong said he fully intends to "analyze and fix" after being tagged by the Seattle Mariners for six hits and seven runs (five earned) in his Cactus League start Saturday.
Still, Vogelsong didn’t sound overly concerned about the start, in which he allowed two first-inning home runs and also committed an error that contributed to a five-run third. Instead, the right-hander offered a ready explanation for the rough afternoon.
"I worked all winter on changing my delivery a little bit and got kind of stuck in between the old way and the new way, and just couldn’t get myself to do what I wanted to do," he said. "But I felt fine. It wasn’t as off as it looked."
Vogelsong said home runs by left-handers Brad Miller and Michael Saunders came on a changeup that was "a little too hard" and a backdoor cut fastball that drifted back over the plate, respectively.
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After allowing an RBI single to Saunders in the third, Vogelsong exited the game with a pair of runners still on. Yusmeiro Petit came on in relief and allowed both to score. Not that this matters much, but the outing ended the Giants’ rotation’s string of excellence to begin the Cactus League -- they’d entered with one earned run allowed in 23 innings.
Vogelsong didn’t go too specifically into the changes he made this winter, but said last season he got into a bad habit of "spinning around the ball." This spring he’s trying to stay more direct to the plate, and felt he simply got caught in between Saturday.
But he said he wouldn’t disregard the results.
"I internalize a lot," Vogelsong said. "That’s how you learn. I’m not just going to brush it off and say it was a bad outing. You need to analyze and fix, so that’s what I’ll do."
* It was a rough day all around for Giants pitching, and that wasn’t confined to arms that will start the season in the minors. Javier Lopez pitched an inning and allowed three runs on three hits and a walk. Sergio Romo faced five batters and retired none of them, giving up three runs on three hits and two walks.
In his four Cactus League outings this spring, Romo has allowed 12 runs (11 earned) on 11 hits. He has said he’s not using his notorious slider right now as he’s trying to get his fastball and changeup going, but neither of the latter pitches worked very well Saturday.
"He was up, not hitting his spots," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Sergio, when he’s good, he’s using both sides and hitting his spots real nice. Right now he’s off. Sure, he’s not using his slider, but changeup’s a little off right now and his command."
Bochy said he hasn’t talked with Romo about when the closer plans to start throwing the slider, but that as far as he knows Romo isn’t battling any soreness or injury.
"I’ll say the same about Vogey (today)," Bochy said. "He was really good at times, but at other times he just left the ball up. Spring training you’re probably going to pay for it."
The best outing of the afternoon belonged to Jeremy Affeldt, who had a perfect inning with a strikeout. Affeldt has retired all six hitters he’s faced this spring in two games. Bochy said Petit also appeared to settle down after his first inning, an "encouraging" sign after the right-hander’s past couple of rough outings.
Overall, though, there wasn’t much positive to be found in an 18-3 loss in which Seattle collected 18 hits and the Giants helped with two errors.
"Even though it’s spring training that’s one of the worst games we’ve had in a long time," Bochy said. "It started early, continued and gradually got worse."
* Bochy said after the game that a couple of the Giants’ regulars likely won’t be available for tomorrow’s split-squad games. Outfielder Michael Morse has a sore calf and might be "down a couple days," Bochy said. Hunter Pence, meanwhile, felt some soreness in his left elbow on a swing Friday and Bochy said it was "barking a little" Saturday morning.
Neither is a long-term concern at this point, Bochy said. Morse argued he probably could have played today but the Giants didn’t want to take any chances. Pence will be evaluated again Sunday morning.
* Brandon Crawford also won’t play Sunday for a happier reason. While the team was in the middle of its morning workout today, Crawford tweeted out this picture and message. It’s the second child for Crawford and his wife, Jalynne. Congratulations to them.
* As Bochy pointed out, though, that’s four members of the projected opening day lineup missing right now (counting Marco Scutaro). So while the Giants are scheduled to get an early look at Clayton Kershaw when they face the Dodgers in Glendale tomorrow, not all the regulars will be getting that look.
* One atta-boy that Bochy did throw out after the game went to catcher Andrew Susac, who entered for Buster Posey in the fourth inning and caught the rest of the game. "He got worked pretty hard back there," Bochy said. "And he did a nice job of blocking the ball and catching."
Susac also drove in two runs with a sixth-inning double. In case you missed it, here’s my story from earlier in the week on Susac, the Jesuit High School graduate hoping to make an impression in his third spring training.
* The Giants’ second error belonged to left fielder Juan Perez, who misjudged a line drive in the third. Perez thought the ball would carry more and got a bad read against the backdrop of Scottsdale Stadium.
* The subject of tomorrow’s print notebook is Gregor Blanco, who’s in camp this spring refreshed after an "interesting" offseason. Apparently Blanco has spent most of the last decade going straight from the pro season to winter ball to spring training, leaving little time for rest and recovery. Last fall, he realized he needed some time off.
"I said to myself (last year), I’m a human being. I’m not a machine," Blanco said. "I need to take some time off and prepare myself physically and let my mind rest, too."
The result, Blanco said, is he came into camp feeling "ambitious" again. He also said he’s fine with his new role as fourth outfielder after the Giants signed Michael Morse over the winter to play left field. Blanco still figures to play regularly, as Morse will be replaced in late-game situations on defense and all three outfielders will get days off.
Tomorrow’s print story is on Mark Minicozzi, the 31-year-old infielder who has taken maybe the most improbable route to this big-league camp. It has been a popular story around here, but here’s something slightly different -- Minicozzi still intends to finish his college degree in sports management, and his advisor at East Carolina University said Minicozzi’s determination to do so parallels his considerable drive to reach the majors.
* The tentative lineup for the Giants tomorrow against Kershaw is: Pagan CF, Perez LF, Belt 1B, Posey C, Pence RF, Sandoval 3B, Arias SS, Hicks 2B, Escobar P. But again, that could change depending on Pence’s elbow.
The other game tomorrow is against the "Futures" -- a team of Giants prospects. Here’s the tentative lineup for that game: Blanco CF, Noonan 2B, Sanchez C, Minicozzi 1B, Kieschnick RF, Dominguez 3B, Adrianza SS, Krill LF, Bumgarner P.