Monday, July 18, 2011

Charlotte Giveth and We Getteth

Charlotte was the location for our nation's first gold rush, way back in 1802. It's also the birthplace of Southern Presbyterianism, a holy thing for a great number of people. However, Charlotte is most famous for producing a 33 year old pitcher that seemingly found his lightning bolt embossed sleeves nestled away in the cozy crevices of his closet this off-season.

With his super shirt donned (this is the best explanation I can come up with) Ryan Vogelsong has been the most consistent pitcher on the formidable Giants staff in 2011. I don't think any fan has gotten to a point yet where they expect him to close down whichever team he's facing, but he's getting close.

In 15 games started this year, he's given up more than three runs, exactly one time. It was his second start, way back on May 3rd, and he must have had terrible butterflies in the Big Apple, because he was lit up for five runs in four innings by the Mets. Perhaps that loss was the catalyst needed for him to pitch lights out ever since. The six starts after that day in New York were 0 or 1 ER outings. In fact, not until June 28th did he give up even 3 earned runs in a start.

I think the Giants knew exactly what they were doing when they drafted him back before Y2K was threatening to end our way of life.

Sure they did.

It's been 13 season, but now he's starting to look not just legitimate  but amazing. Sure, he pounced on a Dodger team with a front office that has more drama than a weekend-long Melrose Place marathon, but the Dodgers love to beat up the Giants at China Basin. For the past four seasons it has been nearly automatic for the men in blue, but tonight Vogelsong made sure that didn't happen.

So instead of skipping rocks across Sugar Creek in Charlotte this evening, Ryan Vogelsong electrified 42,000 rabid fans on the shores of McCovey Cove in San Francisco. This has been a special All Star year for him and one of the greatest comeback stories that even Disney couldn't top.

With each consecutive start, he's getting closer to being the first Giants starter to finish a season with an ERA under 2.00 since Bobby Bolin posted a 1.99 ERA with 19 starts in 1968 and the first Giant to lead the league in ERA since Jason Schmidt in 2003.

This is a good story that I'm looking forward to continuing again in five or six days. Do you think Vogelsong will get better as the year progresses? Did he find the fountain of youth in Japan and bring it back stateside?

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