Results tagged ‘ Ryan Vogelsong ’

Ryan Vogelsong pitches San Francisco Giants to Game 7 of NLCS

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong throws during the first inning of Game 6 of baseball’s National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

BOX SCORE

In 2010,  the Giants captured the World Championship without facing an elimination game.

On Sunday, the Giants’ faced their fifth of the 2012 postseason. Thanks to Ryan Vogelsong, they’ll face their sixth on Monday.

For the second time in this series, Vogelsong limited the Cardinals to a single run over seven outstanding innings of work. Following up the effort of Barry Zito in Game 5, Vogey even delivered an RBI to his cause as the Giants won 6-1 in Game 6 Sunday, forcing a deciding Game 7 on Monday.

Vogelsong set the tone early, striking out six of the first seven batters he faced. Then the offense did its part by giving him a 5-0 lead before Vogelsong would face the eighth Cardinal.

“I just tried to do really the same thing (Zito) did, come out and set the tone early for us,” Vogelsong said, referring to Zito’s performance in Game 5.

And he did, with the bat as well.

The Giants struck first with a run in the bottom of the first. After a walk to Marco Scutaro and a double by Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey’s infield grounder scored Scutaro with the first run.

In the second, with Brandon Belt on third and Brandon Crawford on first and one out, Vogelsong squared to bunt with Crawford taking off for second. Then Vogelsong pulled the bat back and hit a slow grounder to short.

Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma, who had broken to cover second, changed direction to field the ball and dropped it, as Belt scored and the other two runners were safe.

“You try and put as much pressure on them as possible,” Belt said. “You put runners on base and push, and stuff like this happens. We’re doing the same thing we’ve been doing all season: Find some way to get on base, some way to get into scoring position and then some way to get home.”

After Angel Pagan struck out, Scutaro delivered another clutch hit, doubling to left to score Crawford from second and Vogelsong from first.

When asked how he felt after that, Vogelsong said: “Well, I was looking for the oxygen first.”

After Sandoval added an RBI single to make it 5-0 in the second, it was the Cardinals who looked like they were out of gas. Vogelsong kept going on strong, not allowing a hit to the Cardinals until the fifth inning.

The final numbers for Vogelsong: 7 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 1 walk and 9 strikeouts.

For the postseason, Vogelsong has given up three runs on 11 hits in 19 innings, for a 1.42 ERA.

And now it’s down to one game, as the Giants comeback magic continues.

They were down 0-2 to the Reds, needing to win three on the road to survive, and they di.

They were down 3-1 to the Cardinals, needing three wins to surviving, and they have achieved two of them.

When asked to explain the team’s resiliency, Giants GM Brian Sabean said:  “I honestly don’t know. In some ways it’s just a human group dynamic. There’s an old saying in sports, it’s not how good you are, it’s how well you play. I don’t know if they love to win as much as they hate to lose.”

Well, the Giants aren’t alone in that description.

With Sunday’s win, the Giants became the eighth team to win five consecutive elimination games in postseason history. Three other teams have also won five: the Red Sox in 2007-08, the Dodgers in 1981, and the Athletics in 1972-73.

If you want good karma, all of those teams won World Series titles, except the 2008 Red Sox.

But to join those world champions, the Giants will have to win a sixth. And that would put them in a class with four other teams to win six in a row: the Tigers in a streak that extended from 1945 to 1972, the Twins in a streak that extended from 1987 to 2002, the 1985 Royals … and these Cardinals, who have six in a row dating back to last season.

NLCS Game 2: San Francisco Giants 7, St. Louis Cardinals 1

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong throws during the second inning of Game 2 of baseball’s National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

BOX SCORE

Game 1: Cardinals 6, Giants 4
Game 2: Giants 7, Cardinals 1
Game 3: Giants (Cain) at Cardinals (Lohse), 1:07 p.m. Wednesday
Game 4: Giants (Lincecum or Zito) at Cardinals (Wainwright), 5:07 p.m. Thursday
Game 5: Giants (Lincecum or Zito) at Cardinals (Lynn), 5:07 p.m. Friday
x-Game 6: Cardinals at Giants, 1:07 p.m. Sunday
x-Game 7: Cardinals at Giants, 5:07 p.m. Monday

Ryan Vogelsong stopped the streak. Several streaks in fact.

And in doing so he kept another streak going.

The first streak that ended was the Giants’ three-game losing streak at home in the postseason, and that evened the NLCS at one game each.

He helped end Chris Carpenter’s streak of winning his last five postseason decisions.

And by pitching seven solid innings, he became the first Giants starter to post a quality start in the postseason.

Of course, Vogelsong could have ended that last streak in his last start had the Giants managed any early hitting in Game 3 of the NLDS. Vogelsong gave up one run in five innings against the Reds, when he was lifted for a pinch-hitter when the Giants were being no-hit by Homer Bailey.

And that was the positive streak he extended Monday. Monday’s start was the fifth consecutive start that Vogelsong has allowed one run or fewer. Take a look:

  • Sept. 21 vs. Padres: 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 hits
  • Sept. 28 at Padres: 6 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 hits
  • Oct. 3 at Dodgers: 5 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 hits
  • Oct. 9 at Reds: 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 hits
  • Oct. 15 vs. Cardinals: 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 hits

And this after a seven-start stretch in August and September in which he posted on ERA over 10.00.

Angel Pagan gave the Giants the early lead with his second lead-off home run of the postseason.

After the Cardinals tied the game 1-1, the Giants took control with their second four-run fourth inning in two days.

Brandon Belt, who struggled in the NLDS, came up with a big double in the fourth, and moved to third on Gregor Blanco’s single. When Chris Carpenter made an error on Brandon Crawford’s chopper, Belt scored to make it 2-1.

After a walk to Pagan, Marco Scutaro, who was hurt by a late slide by Matt Holliday in the first, delivered a two-run single and a third run scored when Holliday booted the ball in the outfield.

The Giants added to more runs in the eighth when Ryan Theriot, who replaced the injured Scutaro in the sixth, delivered a bases-loaded single.

Scutaro had X-rays after the game, which came back clean. Then he went to the hospital for an MRI.

But the Giants got the win they needed. They need to win at least one in St. Louis to bring the series back to San Francisco. And who would pitch in that potential Game 6 in SF?

Ryan Vogelsong.

Stunning: Ryan Vogelsong to start Game 3 for San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong pitches to the San Diego Padres during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

I’m stunned. Absolutely stunned.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced Sunday who will start Game 3 in Cincinnati: Ryan Vogelsong.

After Vogelsong pitched last week in Los Angeles — his third consecutive solid start after a very rough patch in August and early September — I felt Vogelsong was the best option for Game 3.

He has allowed one earned run in 17 innings over his last three starts. He’s back to the Vogelsong of old.

Tim Lincecum has just been to inconsistent this season, especially of late.

In his final two starts of the regular seasons, Lincecum got tagged for 11 earned runs in 10 innings.

And Barry Zito is, well, Barry Zito.

I felt best about Vogelsong in Game 3, regardless of the situation. I’m sure most Giants fans feel the same way.

I just wasn’t sure if Bruce Bochy would feel the same.

Bochy’s M.O. over the years have been to go with players who have success in the past — not necessarily in the present.

We saw it all last year when he sided with a struggling Aubrey Huff, instead of Brandon Belt. And there have been numerous others examples.

With Bochy, sometimes it seems more about loyalty than results.

I thought Bochy would go with Lincecum in Game 3, and Zito in Game 4, with Vogelsong coming out of the pen.

There is some logic to that strategy as Vogelsong is probably the best suited of the three to work out of the pen.

Bochy did not announce who would pitch Game 4, “but we have a pretty good idea of what we want to do,” he said.

Translation: Barry Zito pitches Game 4. But Bochy is leaving that option open, depending on what happens in Games 2 and 3.

The Giants have won the last 11 games in which Barry Zito has started, dating back to Aug. 7 in St. Louis. Zito was 5-0 in his last five starts, allowing eight earned runs in 30.2 innings (a 2.35 ERA). And the Reds have several key left-handed bats in their lineup.

Bochy said he talked to Lincecum and he’s ready to do anything he can to help the team, which Bochy said includes coming out of the pen.

Again, another sign that Zito is the Game 4 option.

But Lincecum out of the pen? I’m not so sure about that.

Lincecum posted a 7.64 ERA this season in the first inning of games. That doesn’t speak to a lot of confidence of him coming out of the pen. He’s struggled to find his rhythm early.

So is Lincecum only an option to pitch as an innings eater in the event the Giants fall behind big early in the game?

If so, it seems like a waste of a roster spot. But he is a two-time Cy Young winner. Although those trophies don’t get you any outs this October.
So it’s Ryan Vogelsong in Game 3, Barry Zito probably in Game 4, Matt Cain in Game 5. And Tim Lincecum in the pen.
I bet you Chris Lincecum, Timmy’s daddy, is going nuts right about now.

San Francisco Giants 15, St. Louis Cardinals 0: A perfect night in Missouri

BOX SCORE

The next time the Giants are struggling to score runs — which could easily come Thursday — and fans start to complain, they can remember August 8 in St. Louis.

The next time Giants fans complain that the Giants can just win games easily, they can remember August 8.

The next time fans complain the Giants don’t give Ryan Vogelsong enough run support, they can remember August 8.

And hopefully, some time in October when the Giants in the postseason, they can look back on August 8 as a turning point.

The Giants got a win they needed to get Wednesday. Oddly enough, on a night when they only needed one run, they got 15.

Too bad there’s not run equity or aggregate scores don’t count for anything.

The Giants needed to come into St. Louis and earn a split. They’ve assured themselves of at least doing that.

It will enable the Giants to return home on Friday with the lead in the NL West, either one game over the Dodgers or two.

As Mike Krukow said Wednesday, if the Giants lose Thursday, it will have been a good road trip. If they win, it will be a great one.

On the heels of an ugly 3-7 homestead, the Giants have turned the tables with a road trip that will be at worst a 5-2 one, at best 6-1.

And there were plenty of highlights to go around:

Marco Scutaro was the star of the box score, with his seven RBI. But six of those RBI, including his grand slam, came in the eighth and ninth innings, when the game was well in hand. The biggest RBI was his first, when he singled home Angel Pagan in the first inning. It marked the fifth time on this road trip that the Giants have scored in the first inning. They won all of those games.

Hunter Pence went 2 for 5 with a pair of RBI singles.

Buster Posey kept it up, going 1 for 2 with three walks. If teams are going to continue to pitch around Posey, Pence’s contributions will become even bigger.

Angel Pagan got things going atop the lineup, going 1 for 3 with two walks.

Brandon Belt continued his solid hitting, going 2 for 5. Melky Cabrera and Brandon Crawford also had two hits each.

But the star of the game was Ryan Vogelsong. He earned his 10th win of the season by limiting the Cardinals to no runs on three hits and three walks in seven innings. He left after 97 pitches and could have thrown more. But with the Giants up 10-0 in the top of the eighth, what was the point.

He lowered his league-leading ERA to 2.27. It was the kind of outing that makes you glad the Giants signed Vogelsong to a two-year deal prior to this season. It makes you feel even better that they added a team option for 2014.

Madison Bumgarner takes the mound Thursday afternoon against Adam Wainwright. If the Giants win, they’ll be sitting pretty with a two-game lead heading into the weekend series against the Rockies.

But even a one-game lead feels pretty good right now.

Where NL players, Tony LaRussa went wrong with All-Star picks

Ryan Vogelsong said he doesn’t get respect for what he does on the pitching mound. And that’s why he wasn’t selected for the All-Star Game (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

After looking at the All-Star voting, I feel a little sheepish about complaining about the selections of the players and manager Tony LaRussa.

But in the end, the Giants ended up with four All-Stars, three of which deserved to be there — Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and Matt Cain.

You could make the argument that there were more deserving players than Pablo Sandoval. But you could also say the Giants had two All-Star snubs — Ryan Vogelsong and Sergio Romo. You could even make a case for Madison Bumgarner or Santiago Casilla.

Some have argued that Sandoval’s election to start the All-Star game cost Vogelsong a spot. It’s possible that it’s true and it’s not true.

To explain that, we need to take a harder look at the selection process.

The All-Star team, as it stands now, is compiled in three parts: Fan voting for starters (8), players’ vote for eight pitchers and eight reserves (basically the backup at every position, and nine players added by LaRussa to fill out the roster and make sure each team is represented.

After the fans voted in the starters, the players voted in these eight position players:

1B Bryan Lahair, Cubs; 2B Jose Altuve, Astros; SS Starlin Castro, Cubs; 3B David Wright, Mets; C Yadier Molina, Cardinals; OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; OF Ryan Braun, Brewers; OF Andrew McCutchen.

And the following pitchers (5 starters and 3 relievers) …

Craig Kimbrel, Braves; Aroldis Chapman, Reds; Gio Gonzalez, Nationals; Stephen Strasburg, Nationals; R.A. Dickey, Mets; Matt Cain, Giants; Lance Lynn, Cardinals; Joel Hanrahan, Pirates.

MoreSplashHits takes no offense to most of the players’ selections. But two picks actually caused some issues.

1B Bryan LaHair, Cubs: This selection wasn’t too bad, almost a month ago. On June 7, LaHair had 12 home runs and was hitting .311. Now, he’s hitting .284 and he’s only hit one more homer. With the callup of Anthony Rizzo, LaHair isn’t even starting every day … for a last-place club. The best selection would have been Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks. Goldschmidt has 11 HR, 35 RBI and is hitting .292. His slash line of .292/.367/.540 is better than LaHair’s of .284/.364/.526, and it would have given Arizona it’s lone representative that instead went to Wade Miley, costing another pitcher a spot.

SP Lance Lynn, Cardinals: Lynn was 10-2 with 2.42 ERA on June 13, shortly before player voting starting. But since he’s given up 17 runs in 15.1 innings. He’s 10-4 with a 3.62. But two of those starts may have occurred after player voting ending.

We do take greater issue with some of Tony LaRussa’s selections.

LaRussa picked Carlos Ruiz, c, Phillies; Ian Desmond, ss, Nationals; Jay Bruce, of, Reds; Giancarlo Stanton, of, Marlins; Cole Hamels, sp, Phillies; Jonathan Papelbon, rp, Phillies; Clayton Kershaw, sp, Dodgers; Wade Miley, sp, Diamondbacks; and Huston Street, rp, Padres.

We have no problem with the selections of Ruiz, Kershaw and Stanton. Frankly, we’re stunned the players didn’t vote for Ruiz and let LaRussa pick Molina.

When the players picked LaHair over Goldschmidt, it forced LaRussa’s hand to pick Miley as the Diamondbacks’ lone representative. And we also aren’t too bent out of shape over the Bruce pick. We probably would have gone with Michael Bourn of the Braves, but it’s a close call. Plus, Bourn likely will make the team as an injury replacement for Matt Kemp if Bourn doesn’t win the fan voting for the final spot on the NL roster.

There are picks we have big beefs with:

Huston Street: Yes, we know Street is the Padres’ lone representative. But we feel Chase Headley would have been the better choice. Street has been great this season, but in limited action as he missed a month of the season on the DL. Headley would have been a more meaningful pick for Padres’ fans. He’s a product of San Diego’s system and figures to be with the Padres longer than Street. Street was acquired in the offseason, missed a month on the DL and likely won’t be with the team come August. If Headley is on the team, Ian Desmond likely is not, but it would have opened a slot for another, more deserving reliever … i.e. Sergio Romo (2-1, 0.79 ERA). But set-up guys don’t get the love, even though Romo has been lights-out this season, and lights-out last season, too.

Cole Hamels: Hamels was great in April and May, not so great in June (especially early June). He was 8-1 with 2.43 ERA on May 28, but 2-3 since then. His ERA sits at 3.08. Not bad. But it cannot compare to Johnny Cueto’s 9-4 and 2.26 ERA. LaRussa said he passed on Cueto because he was set to pitch the Sunday before the All-Star Game. Completely stupid. You pick the most deserving player, then let the schedule play itself out. If Cueto was declared unavailable for the ASG, pick a replacement.

Jonathan Papelbon: Four relievers is plenty for an All-Star Game. Once LaRussa opted to make Street the Padres’ rep, he should have looked to another starter, of which there are plenty of good candidates. As for Papelbon, again he started very hot, saving his first 9 chances with a 0.82 ERA. One bad outing in early May led his ERA to blow up to 3.00. He worked it back down to 2.02. But his last three outings haven’t gone so well. He twice allowed the opposing team to take the lead, only to get the win when the Phillies rallied to win in the bottom of the inning. His ERA is now at 3.03 and his last outing was June 26, plenty of time for LaRussa to notice there are better candidates like Ryan Vogelsong (7-3, 2.26), James McDonald (8-3, 2.45) or Chris Capuano (9-3, 2.69).

Now, it’s possible that Sandoval’s election kept Vogelsong off the team. LaRussa may not have wanted to give the Giants five spots on the team and end up with more than his own World Series champion Cardinals, who also had four (Molina, Furcal, Beltran and Lynn).

There could have been backlash with Sandoval’s election because it kept David Wright from winning the start, then the players would have voted for the backup, which may have cost another Cardinal a spot (David Freese). As it is, Freese is one of the five finalists for the Final Spot vote.

Again, it’s hard to complain too much when the Giants landed five on the All-Star Game last year: One who was voted on by the players (Brian Wilson) and three who were picked by manager Bruce Bochy (Cain, Tim Lincecum and Vogelsong). Sandoval was later added as an injury replacement.

The chances of Giants being added as late replacements this year aren’t good. There are two All-Stars battling injuries right now: Matt Kemp (who is unlikely to play) and Joey Votto (who is iffy). But there is little chance of Brandon Belt or Angel Pagan being added.

As for the pitchers, LaRussa specifically avoided pitchers who may pitch on Sunday, so that won’t be a factor.

Cain, Dickey, Hamels, Miley and Lynn pitch Thursday, Strasburg and Kershaw pitch Friday, and Gonzalez pitches Saturday.

San Francisco Giants 4, Seattle Mariners 2: Another quality start from Ryan Vogelsong

BOX SCORE

The Giants accomplished something that they’ve never done in four previous trips to Seattle — win the opening game of the three-game series.

Ryan Vogelsong pitched into the eighth inning, giving up two runs and Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera homered to send the Mariners to their sixth straight loss at home.

The blasts by Posey and Cabrera gave the Giants eight homers in their past four games.

“I think what really got us going was (Madison) Bumgarner’s homer,” Posey quipped.

It was an odd and bit uneven night for Vogelsong.

Early in the game, the Mariners were hitting the ball hard … but directly at Giants defenders.

The Mariners only managed two hits through the first seven innings against Vogelsong, with a lot of loud outs early on.

“What you like about him, he keeps his composure out there,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He continues to grind it out and make pitches.”

But then Vogey settled into a groove. In the end, it was a dunker and a seeing-eye single that got Vogelsong out of the game with two on and nobody out.

Javier Lopez came in and gave up a single that did not score anyone. The Mariners did eventually plate two runs on groundouts, the second one should have been a double-play ball that Sandoval bobbled.

Then Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla shut the door for the victory.

Posey got the Giants on the board with a solo home run in the second inning. Cabrera added a two-run shot in the eighth which provided to be pivotal with the Mariners scored twice in the bottom of the eighth.

And Brandon Belt continued his current hot streak, going 2 for 4 with a double.

UP NEXT

Tim Lincecum returns to the mound — one day after his 28th birthday and in his first start in his hometown of Seattle. Hopefully, those two factors will turn things around for the Freak against Kevin Millwood. First pitch in 7:10 p.m. Saturday.

San Francisco Giants 5, Texas Rangers 2: Ryan Vogelsong is a hit … once again

BOX SCORE

I can remember watching one of those “experts” on TV making some preseason predictions about the Giants.

The “expert” admitted that pitching was the Giants’ strength. But their starting rotation had some question marks. Sure, he analyzed, they had studs in Tim Linecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. But you never what you were going to get from Barry Zito, he said, and it was no given that Ryan Vogelsong could repeat his 2011 performance.

Well, it’s true that Zito has been a pleasant surprise in 2012 (Lincecum an unpleasant one). But for Giants fans who watched him last year, there is no surprise about what Vogelsong has done.

Vogelsong was a rock in 2011. A steady performer. Not flashy. He wasn’t going to throw a no-hitter or strike out 10. He was just going to give you quality innings and give the Giants a chance to win.

And after he found his rhythm after back issues delayed the start of his 2012, Vogelsong has again hit his stride and may be even better than he was in 2011.

Vogelsong held the Rangers to one run on three hits in 7 2/3 innings Saturday. The lone run came on a solo home run that Mitch Moreland nearly hit to Alameda, as Vogelsong labored into the eighth inning.

Vogelsong won his fifth consecutive decision. More importantly, in his 10th start of the season, Vogelsong recorded his ninth quality start.

It was the sixth start since May 3 in which Vogelsong pitched at least seven innings and gave up no more than one earned run.

Could it get much better than that? Well, yes. Vogelsong also got his first hit of the season, leading to the Giants’ first run of the game.

OTHER NOTES

  • Pablo Sandoval, in his first start since being activated from the DL, went 1 for 4 with a run-scoring single.
  • The Giants have not him a home run at AT&T Park in their past 15 games. The club record is 16 set in 1980. Nate Schierholtz almost snapped the streak when he hit a ball high off the right-center field wall for a triple.
  • The game also snapped a nine game home streak in which the Giants did not score more than four runs in a game.

UP NEXT

Tim Lincecum returns to the mound in search of his first win since April 28. The Rangers will send Alexi Ogando. Texas is hoping to get 60 pitches out of Ogando, so it will be a bullpen game for the Rangers. Let’s hope it’s not the same for the Giants.

Ryan Vogelsong, Shane Loux and roster decision the San Francisco Giants need to make

Thursday was a day off for the San Francisco Giants, but does mean there wasn’t news to report.

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman reported that Ryan Vogelsong’s sore back — which caused the pitcher to get a late start to spring training and to the started of the season — flared up in the days before his most recent start.

It did not prevent him from pitching Tuesday in Los Angeles. In fact, Vogey’s seven-plus inning, one-run outing was his best of the season.

The Giants had Vogelsong leave LA early to avoid subjecting his back to a late-night flight after Wednesday’s game. It also allowed him to get a “maintainence shot” to his back in Arizona. The Giants say they don’t expect Vogelsong to miss his next start Monday at home against the Rockies.

Then came another piece of news. The Giants reportedly called on Fresno Grizzlies pitcher Shane Loux to join the team in Arizona. Loux was not activated. According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, teams have a short grace period in which they can bring a player in without calling him up.

The Loux summons could mean a couple of things:

The Giants could see Loux as insurance in the event Vogelsong’s back tightens up again. Loux started 28 games for Fresno in 2011 with a 4.67 ERA. But he’s worked exclusively out of the pen, with success, this season — 21 IP in 13 innings with a 3-1 record and an 0.43 ERA. So using Loux as a spot starter for Vogey doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Baggarly said it’s possible that Loux is being brought in simply to familiarize himself with the big league routine to prepare him for a future call-up. But Loux is no spring chicken. He’s 32 with two previous big-league stints — in 2002-03 with the Tigers and 2008-09 with the Angels.

It’s also likely the Giants are preparing to return to a seven-man bullpen. We knew that the Giants decision to go with a six-man pen in the wake of Guillermo Mota’s suspension and Aubrey Huff’s activation from the DL would not be permanent. The day off following the Dodgers series offered the Giants some flexibility.

But that flexibility ends Friday when the Giants start a stretch in which they play 20 games in 20 days. Loux’s call-up may be the first step toward the Giants returning to a seven-man pen. But with Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain, who both have the ability to pitch deep into games, going in the first two games, the Giants may simply be holding Loux in reserve, allowing them to keep the deeper bench at least to open the Arizona series.

And there’s another factor at play. Jeremy Affeldt (sprained knee) is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday and may well be available to do so. But even if he is ready to come off the DL, that doesn’t mean Loux won’t be needed.

The Giants normally keep two lefties in the pen (Javier Lopez and Affeldt). When Affeldt went on the DL, lefty Travis Blackley was called upon. So when Affeldt comes off the DL, Blackley could be sent back to Fresno and Loux is activated to give the Giants a seven-man pen.

This appears to be the mostly likely scenario to MoreSplashHits, given Thursday’s news.

Of course, if that does happen, the Giants would need to demote, DL or DFA a position player.

But we’ll deal with that decision in a later post.

San Franciso Giants notes: Ryan Vogelsong set to make 2012 debut on Sunday

Ryan Vogelsong gave up two runs on six hits over six innings of work in his second rehab start with the Fresno Grizzlies on Tuesday and is set to make his 2012 big-league debut Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Vogelsong threw 93 pitches, 60 for strikes. He struck out six and walked one.

Vogelsong threw five shutout innings before giving up two runs in the sixth on an soft, looping single to left, an infield single and then a two-run double.

BARRY LOVES HECTOR: If you liked what you saw from rookie catcher Hector Sanchez in his 2012 debut on Monday, you’ll see him again on Saturday, at the latest.

The Giants are planning to make Sanchez Barry Zito’s personal catcher. And why not? The combination produced Zito’s first shutout in nine seasons.

“I’m really comfortable with him,” Zito said of Sanchez. “I thought he mixed it up real well. He has a great feel back there. I don’t think he gets enough credit as a catcher. He’s not scared to go out there and call a pitch that may not be a normal pitch to throw in a siutation.”

Zito will take the mound again on Saturday night against the Pirates. But it’s possible Sanchez could be behind the plate again on Thursday.

With the Giants playing a day game after a night game and with the left-hander Jamie Moyer on the mound, we could see Sanchez catching and Buster Posey making his first start at first base.

Given the Giants’ struggles against lefties, manager Bruce Bochy will likely want to stack Thursday’s lineup with as many right-handed bats as possible. That could include the switch-hitting Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Pablo Sandoval and Sanchez, with righties Posey at first and Ryan Theriot at 2B. Bochy could also leave Posey at catcher and start Brett Pill at first base.

LINEUP JUGGLING: After getting a day off to clear his mind, Brandon Belt should be back in the starting lineup Wednesday against the Rockies.

Bochy said Belt, who started 1 for 10 with five strikeouts after an outstanding spring, was pressing a bit.

We also could see Nate Schierholtz make his first start Wednesday.

“I need to get Nate a start,” Bochy said Monday. “I know that. I need to let him get three or four at-bats.”

SET THE DVR: The Giants will make their second national TV appearance of 2012 next Tuesday when they host the Philadelphia Phillies at 7 p.m. on the MLB Network. Madison Bumgarner is set to pitch for the Giants.

Friday Farm Report: Vogelsong shines in Grizzlies opener

While San Francisco Giants had to wait for opening day, the Fresno Grizzlies opened the Triple-A season with a 3-0 win at Tucson.

The spotlight was on Fresno starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, who was making the first of two rehab starts as he opens the season on the DL.

Vogelsong threw four shutout innings, giving up three hits, three walks and striking out six. He threw 83 pitches, 49 for strikes.

Vogelsong will make his second Triple-A start on Tuesday at Las Vegas before making his Giants debut on April 15.

Heath Hembree, the Giants’ closer-of-the-future, earned his first save with Fresno, giving up two hits and striking out two in a scoreless ninth.

Here’s the rest of the Grizzlies’ opener roster

Pitchers: Travis Blackley, Brian Burres, Hector Correa, Steve Edlefsen, Eric Hacker, Heath Hembree, George Kontos, Andrew Kown, Mitch Lively, Shane Loux, Jean Machi, Yusmeiro Petit, Wilmin Rodriguez, Ryan Vogelsong (DL rehab), Craig Whitaker, Matt Yourkin

Catchers: Tyler LaTorre, Jackson Williams, Eli Whitside

Infielders: Joaquin Arias, Brock Bond, Charlie Culberson, Conor Gillaspie, Nick Noonan, Skyler Stromsmoe

Outfielders: Justin Christian, Tyler Graham, Roger Kieschnick, Todd Linden, Francisco Peguero

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