By Claire Reclosado-Baclay
Throughout this postseason, Ryan Vogelsong has been the most effective pitcher on the San Francisco Giants starting rotation. Today, he looks to continue that success in Game 3 of the World Series.
In the first two games of the series, the Giants sent two left-handers to face the Detroit Tigers. In 2012, the Tigers hit .253 with a .329 on-base percentage and a .395 slugging percentage when they faced lefties. Against right-handers, they were markedly batter with a .275 batting average, .337 on-base percentage, and a.434 slugging percentage.
Needless to say, Detroit is glad that they will be facing the right-handed Vogelsong and they are glad they are doing it at home.
“Well, I think you always feel more comfortable in your own bed,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said about playing in Comerica Park. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. The Giants had a little bit of that going for them. Out here, we’ll have a little bit.”
Naturally, the thought that the Giants would be at a disadvantage away from home, but looking at the historic results of the NLDS, as well as the postseason as whole, proves that sometimes the expected just doesn’t happen.
With Vogelsong on the mound, the Giants are confident that home-field advantage won’t matter much.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy makes no secret of his admiration for Vogelsong. His journey has been well-known and the turn-around in his career is one that many appreciate.
“Really when I think about Vogey, I think of perseverance. What this guy has been through, he never quit, he had to go through a lot, injuries, going to the Minor Leagues, Japan, and was just relentless on getting back to the Major Leagues,” said Bochy. “He’s always had great stuff, but he’s had to deal with a lot. I think he learned a lot through his experiences pitching in the Minor Leagues and in Japan, and now he is who he is right now because of all of the time he’s had to work to get back to this point and learn how to pitch.”
Even with the way he has been pitching the past two seasons, Vogelsong doesn’t feel he is done working hard and improving his game.
“Obviously I’ve had a solid year last year, solid year this year, and there’s lots of guys in this game that have put together two good years,” Vogelsong said. “It’s doing it for a long period of time that separates the men from the boys. I’ve still got a lot to do.”
His next challenge is to tame the Tigers on their home field. The Giants are up 2-0—halfway to taking the entire series—and don’t want to let any game slip through their fingers.
Vogelsong knows this. He admits having a “chip on this shoulder” and feels that he can’t let his work slip because he has reached such a high point in his career. With that in mind, he does not allow himself to sit and focus on how big it is to start a World Series game when just years ago he was wondering if he was done with baseball.
“You’re right, it’s not really time to think about that too much,” said Vogelsong. “You know, you realize obviously you realize you’re in the World Series, and tomorrow is a big game, just like all of them are in the postseason. But when this thing is all over with, I’ll take some time to really let it hit home. Right now I’m just worried about going out and having a solid effort tomorrow, and giving us a chance to win the game.”
With Vogelsong on the mound, the possibility of taking Game Three looks good in the eyes of his the Giants and their fans.
Claire Reclosado-Baclay is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco Giants. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.