Ryan Vogelsong admitted to some regrets after his last start of the regular season. He allowed four runs in a loss to the San Diego Padres and said he wanted to give a better performance in what might have been his last start for the Giants at AT&T Park.
He’ll get another chance, as it turns out.
Vogelsong will start Game 4 of the National League Division Series today with a chance to help the Giants clinch the best-of-five series against the Washington Nationals. It will be the first start for Vogelsong since that Sept. 26 outing, a span of 11 days.
“I’m excited,” Vogelsong said after the Giants’ 4-1 loss Monday. “Obviously it would have been nice to finish it up today, but you know, these are the times that you play this game for.”
Vogelsong was a key for the Giants in the 2012 postseason, going 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in four starts. He went winless with a 5.53 ERA in five September starts this season but said he felt he pitched well for most of those outings.
“I would be rolling along in the game and then just kind of lose it,” Vogelsong said. “So I mean, it’s there. Just need to be more focused at times and more concentrated on making a good pitch.”
During the layoff between starts, Vogelsong said he has done drill work and thrown “a couple bullpens, really just trying to clean up some things that I felt like got away from me a little at the end of the season.”
Manager Bruce Bochy had mentioned both Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit as options for a potential Game 4. But that decision was all but made when Petit threw six relief innings in the Giants’ 18-inning win in Game 2 on Saturday.
“He’s a guy we have all the confidence in the world in,” Bochy said of Vogelsong. “He’s been in this situation, and we’re very confident with him out there.”
Vogelsong, who will be a free agent after the season, said he won’t take thoughts of this being – again – a potential farewell to the AT&T Park crowd. “I have another chance to do that (today),” he said. “But I really just need to focus on making pitches.”
Blanco struggles – While the Giants’ offense has struggled to score against a strong Nationals pitching staff, they haven’t received much production from the leadoff spot, where Gregor Blanco is 1 for 14 with a walk in three games.
Blanco, who is batting leadoff and playing center field because of an injury to Angel Pagan, has previously admitted to struggling under the expectations of filling in for Pagan. He said that isn’t the case this time.
“I don’t put pressure on myself,” Blanco said. “Especially in this situation, because (they are) situations everybody wants to be in since you were a little kid.”
After the Giants were held to ninth-inning sacrifice fly in Monday’s loss, Blanco said, “The whole series, we haven’t been able to hit the way we know how.” But he said hitters “are not going to get frustrated. … We’ve just got to do it (today).”
Et cetera – Pablo Sandoval singled in the second inning to extend his postseason hitting streak to 14 games, a Giants record and the second-longest ever by an N.L. player behind Marquis Grissom’s 15-game streak with the Atlanta Braves from 1995 to 1996. Three players share the major-league record of 17 games.
• WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan rallied the crowd before the game with a rendition of his “Yes!” chant that the Giants this season adopted as a home run celebration. Bryan asked fans shortly before the 2:07 p.m. first pitch if they wanted to see the Giants win “tonight,” but they answered anyway: “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
• Musician and former Sacramento resident Jackie Greene performed the national anthem and former Giants first baseman Will Clark threw out the first pitch.