I’m dumbfounded. Flabbergasted. I don’t have anything even remotely witty or comical to say. No one liners. No sarcastic remark. All I know is Ryan Vogelsong – yes, that Ryan Vogelsong – handcuffed the Pirates on four hits and two walks in picking up his first win since before anyone outside of Illinois had heard of Barack Obama.
It hopeful from the onset. Pittsburgh scored one in the first. Lyle Overbay walked and Neil Walker knocked him in with a double. But hte Pirate offense would stall, failing to advance anyone past second base until the sixth inning.
In the meantime, San Francisco had one big inning. But that was all it took. That inning would be the third one. Mike Fontenot singled and Eli Whiteside was hit by a pitch. Vogelsong dropped down a bunt and Jeff Karstens attempt to retire the lead runner was too late. Bases juiced and no one out. Aaron Rowand doubled in two runs. After an out and an intentional walk to load the bases, Pablo Sandoval reached on a fielder’s choice when the Pirates were unable to turn an inning ending double play. Sandoval and Rowand then pulled off a double steal with Doumit’s throw to second off the mark for an error and Rowand scoring.
Vogelsong lasted until the sixth inning. He gave up consecutive one out singles to Walker and Garrett Jones. Doumit’s grounder scored Walker and chased Vogelsong to the dugout. Jeremy Affeldt hit Pedro Alvarez but got Brandon Wood to end the inning. Rowand got that run back with another RBI knock in the seventh.
Brian Wilson struck out the side in the ninth, including newcomer Xavier Paul, to get the save.
Vogelsong allowed two runs on four hits in 5-2/3. He struck out eight and walked two. Karstens was charged for two earned runs but gave up all five Giant tallies. He gave up seven hits and walked one.
Walker had three of the four hits.
Pirates turned two three times.
Welcome Xavier Paul. Fare thee well, John Bowker.
Daniel McCutchen tossed 2-1/3 innings of shutout relief. He is still unscored upon in 2011.
Getting beaten by Vogelsong is more than enough bad to last the rest of the week.
More hits, please!
In case someone has forgotten or is recent to the relatively empty Pittsburgh Pirates bandwagon, the Pirates traded Jason Schmidt and John Vander Wal to the Giants July 31,2001 for Vogelsong and Armando Rios. Vander Wal would revive his bench role for several teams after getting a chance (and succeeding) at playing full time in Pittsburgh. In his 5.5 years with San Francisco, Schmidt won 78 games and made three All-Star teams. Rios was implicated in Balco and would hit just one home run in over 200 at bats for the Pirates. He was released after 2002 and was picked up by the White Sox. That left the burden of the success of the trade on Vogelsong’s shoulders. His career was derailed by Tommy John surgery. Healthy and ready to go in 2004, he was bombed. He posted an ERA of 6.50 (good for an ERA+ of 67) while being used primarily as a starter. He pitched in 66 games in relief – mostly as a white flag – over the next two years before going to Japan. He’s back.
Vogelsong hadn’t registered a win since 9/14/05 against St. Louis. His last win as a starter was 9/19/04 against the Mets.
Pirates have not scored more than four runs in their last five games.
Of the Pirates five primary starters (Sean Burnett had the sixth most starts on the team with 13) back in 2004, only Vogelsong has been active in 2011. Oliver Perez, Kip Wells, Josh Fogg and Kris Benson. Go figure.