Ryan Vogelsong

San Francisco Giants: Who Will Be Their Fifth Starter?

August 20, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (32, left) and catcher Buster Posey (28, right) talk to pitching coach Dave Righetti (33, center) against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at AT

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

After signing Tim Hudson to a two-year, $23 million deal, the San Francisco Giants have four proven starters on their roster. Matt Cain is their workhorse, Madison Bumgarner is the young ace, and Tim Lincecum is a fan favorite. Hudson is the new face in the starting rotation, but he’s also a proven pitcher who will provide some valuable veteran leadership to the starting pitching staff and clubhouse.

So what are the Giants’ options for their fifth starter? First of all, they could look outside the organization. The Giants have been tied to Ricky Nolasco, Dan Haren, Josh Johnson, and Bronson Arroyo. However, Nolasco is basically out of the running, because he’s seeking a four-year deal, which the Giants aren’t willing to give. Johnson is also out of the mix, because he just signed with the San Diego Padres.

That leaves Haren and Arroyo. The Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers are both reportedly interested in signing Haren, who struggled in late June and early July because of a shoulder injury but was excellent after returning from the DL.

Arroyo would be a great addition to this Giants starting pitching staff. Arroyo finished the 2013 season with a 3.79 ERA, but at AT&T Park, he had a 0.00 ERA in nine innings and a 0.60 ERA against the Giants last season. Arroyo has publicly said that he’d love to pitch in San Francisco, but the Giants haven’t extended him an offer.

The Giants also can look within the organization or to some familiar faces to fill the fifth starter spot. Ryan Vogelsong is one option. The Giants declined his $6.5 million option for the 2014 season, but according to numerous sources, both the Giants and Vogelsong’s agent are interested in discussing a deal to bring Vogelsong back. Vogelsong was a fan favorite and a beloved Giant, so Giants fans would love to see him back.

Vogelsong struggled for much of the beginning of the 2013 season, and then he suffered an unfortunate injury to his right hand right when he was starting to find his groove again. After returning from injury, he had issues with his velocity, his confidence, and his rhythm. However, he appeared to be close to re-gaining his dominant form later in the season.

Another option for the Giants is re-signing Chad Gaudin. Initially, the Giants brought on Gaudin last season to be their long reliever. When Vogelsong went down with his injury, Gaudin stepped into the starting rotation and proved to be a serviceable starter. In his 12 starts last season, he had a 3.53 ERA. Gaudin also served as a mentor to Lincecum and helped him transform into more of a cerebral pitcher. Gaudin was a great veteran to have in the clubhouse, so he’s a great option for the Giants.

One more option for the Giants within the organization is Yusmeiro Petit, who came within one strike of a perfect game last season. Petit started seven games for the Giants near the end of last season, and he finished with a 3.59 ERA and struck out 40 in 42.2 innings. Petit certainly made his case for why he deserves to start for the Giants this upcoming season.

The Giants also still have to find a left fielder or a first basemen, which would lead to moving Brandon Belt to left field. The Giants still have many areas to address in the offseason and many decisions to make on how they want to allocate their money towards addressing those needs.

Obviously, if the Giants want to save some money, it’d be easier to go with Vogelsong, Gaudin, or Petit. Brian Sabean has said that they are willing to spend extra money if they truly believe a free agent is worth the higher cost. Since it appears as if money is no issue, Haren and Arroyo must still be in the mix too. The Giants have many options for filling that last spot in the starting pitching rotation, so it’ll be interesting to see which option they choose.

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San Francisco Giants: 2013 Season in Review

Sep 29, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) thanks the fans after the final game of the season at AT

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

The San Francisco Giants had a rough season. Even though they brought back a very similar roster to the one that won the World Series last year, they failed to replicate another winning, successful season.

There are several reasons why the Giants had such a poor season. First of all, they were inconsistent. The starting pitching started off horribly, so the offense had to carry the team. Then, Angel Pagan went down with his hamstring injury, so the offense started struggling. By the time the team started playing good, all-around baseball again, it was too late. The Dodgers were winning so many games that they were almost unstoppable, and the Giants had dug themselves into too large of a hole in the standings.

Another reason why the Giants failed to make the playoffs was injuries. As mentioned before, Pagan’s injury significantly affected the Giants’ chances. Although Gregor Blanco had a couple solid months earlier in the season, he wasn’t able to make the impact the Giants needed at the leadoff spot. Neither did Andres Torres. Neither of these players were expected to either, given the fact that they came into the season forming a left-field platoon.

Ryan Vogelsong was also out for a significant amount of time with a broken hand. Vogelsong struggled to start out the season. He was starting to re-gain his form in a start against the Nationals on May 20th, and then he dislocated a joint in his pinky on his pitching hand when he was hit by a pitch.

Marco Scutaro has also dealt with a couple injuries throughout the season. He sustained tendon damage to his left pinkie finger on June 11th, and he has also dealt with a sore back and hip all season. Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, and Pablo Sandoval have dealt with injuries too.

After making deep postseason runs in two of the past three seasons, it make sense why the Giants had so many injuries. Overly fatigued bodies are more susceptible to injury, so this must have been the reason why this Giants team had unfortunate luck in terms of injuries. In fact, Bruce Bochy pointed out that almost all of the Giants players who participated in the World Baseball Classic were injured at some point this season.

Injuries weren’t the only reason why the Giants struggled this season though. They lacked clutch hitting at times, they struggled on defense, and they had very little production from the leadoff spot. However, many of these things come back to the Giants’ team chemistry.

Jun 8, 2013; Phoenix AZ, USA; The San Francisco Giants base runner Hunter Pence (8) and team celebrate after Pence scored in the fourth inning against The Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports Images

They have some of the best team chemistry in all of MLB. This was evident when they won the World Series last season. When one person is doing well, many other players do well too. They feed off of each other’s energy, and they truly play for each other.

Unfortunately, the opposite is true too. When one player is slumping, whether it be on offense or on defense, other players end up struggling too. When the whole team is slumping, they start pressing. Each player wants to become the player who will break the team out of their slump. Then they put too much pressure on themselves, and their game starts to suffer even more. It becomes a vicious cycle, and it happened this season for the Giants. Their clutch hitting, defense, and consistency suffered because of this.

The San Francisco Giants finished the 2013 season with a record of 76-86. They tied for third place in the NL West, and they failed to make the playoffs after winning two World Series titles in the past three seasons.

Although this sounds like a disappointing season, the Giants actually finished off the season on a great note. The Giants won 10 of their last 15 games, and since August 24th, they went 20-14 to end the season.

The Giants had essentially been out of the playoff hunt since July or August, so this run doesn’t technically mean anything in terms of standings. However, this run is definitely significant.

The Giants will now have a longer offseason than they’re used to, which will give the whole team some much needed rest going into next season. Even though they’re facing a longer offseason, they will be able to carry some of the momentum they had during that run into next season. This is significant, because the Giants can go into the 2014 season with some confidence, instead of going into next season disappointed with the results of the 2013 season.

“This game was a great way to go into the offseason,” Hunter Pence said after he led the Giants to a walkoff win in the last game of the season. “One of the goals during the rough times was to dig a little deeper and find a way to get momentum again. I think we did that.”

After witnessing the Giants impressive run the end the season, it’s hard not to think about what could have been. How much did the Giants really miss Pagan? How much did Pagan’s absence really affect the Giants?

Apr 27, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Angel Pagan (16) reacts after scoring during the third inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

“He changes our club, no question about it,” Bochy said. “I think we’d be in a better situation than where we are.”

On the field, Pagan provides speed on the basepaths, he’s an effective leadoff hitter, he finds ways to get on base, he has some power, he’s an excellent hitter at AT&T Park, and he’s pretty good defensively. The Giants lacked some depth in the outfield this season, and they clearly missed his presence at the leadoff spot.

Off the field, Pagan is not just their leadoff hitter, but he is their sparkplug. He is the energy and the passion of this team. He could’ve potentially re-fueled the Giants on and off the field when they were collectively slumping.

Pagan injured himself after his inside-the-park home run on May 25th. The Giants truly started struggling in June and July, and they couldn’t recover from that. The Giants couldn’t have stopped the Dodgers’ incredible run, but it would’ve been interesting to see what the Giants could’ve accomplished if Pagan hadn’t gotten injured.

“We can all see right now that we’re a good team, a championship team,” Pagan said. “This year happened to be a tough one but that happens to every team. I think the most important thing is to reflect on the year and use it as motivation and look at what is happening now.”

There’s always next year for the Giants. In fact, they like winning championships in even-numbered years. Maybe 2014 is their year to get back to their winning ways.

San Francisco Giants: Are Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean Given Too Much Credit?

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

After winning two World Series titles in the past three years, the San Francisco Giants are having a disappointing 2013 season. The Giants are seeing why it is so difficult for reigning World Series champions to win the World Series again the next year.

In 2011, the Giants had an excuse for why they weren’t able to repeat as champions. Buster Posey suffered a gruesome left ankle injury in May of 2011 and was out for the rest of the season.

This season though, the Giants have an almost identical roster as last season’s championship team. Yes, there have been some injuries to key players such as Angel Pagan and Ryan Vogelsong, but this isn’t the main reason why the Giants are struggling.

Jul 23, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Giants infield players watch as San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo (54) warms up during the eighth inning in the second game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds at AT

The Giants have been inconsistent all season. Right now, they are consistently bad. They are a season-high 12 games below .500 and have a 46-58 record. They also are 10 games out of first place and fifth in the NL West.

So have Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean been given too much credit for constructing and developing this team that’s played so horrible this season?

The simple answer is no. Despite the team’s struggles this season, Bochy and Sabean have found the winning formula. The team just hasn’t displayed it this season.

The Giants have done so well in the past few seasons because they have followed the general formula for success in baseball: pitching wins championships. The Giants have had stellar starting pitching and relief pitching the past few seasons.

With quality pitching, it takes some pressure off the offense, because it allows hitters to play more naturally and not grind too hard to get hits. If the starting pitcher is struggling, players feel more pressure on defense too to limit the damage the starter caused.

The Giants haven’t been known for their high-powered offense in the past couple seasons, so their starting pitching carried them. If the Giants were only able to score a run or two, they knew they could still win the game behind a quality outing from their starter.

This hasn’t been the case for the Giants this season though. Bochy and Sabean brought back the same starting rotation from last season’s World Series run: Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, and Vogelsong.

Cain has struggled with command all season, and he’s supposedly not dealing with any hidden injuries. Bumgarner has been the most consistent starter. Lincecum, despite throwing a no-hitter recently, has also been inconsistent, even though he has been pitching better in the past couple months. Zito has been good at home, but, on the road, he is a completely different pitcher with a sky-high ERA. Vogelsong has been out with a right hand injury since May, but he started to show improvements in his command in the start where he got injured.

There’s no way that Bochy and Sabean could’ve predicted these types of struggles. In fact, no one predicted that Cain would be as inconsistent as he’s been. Lincecum and Zito’s struggles might have been predictable, but Bochy and Sabean weren’t going to trade them or demote them after some incredible pitching performances in last season’s playoffs. Of course, Vogelsong’s injury couldn’t have been predicted either.

Because of the inconsistent starting pitching, the Giants’ offense has felt more pressure to score more runs, especially recently. In the month of July, the Giants are hitting .230, which ranks last in the NL. Posey has had a fantastic season so far, but as of now, he hasn’t gotten a hit in his last 18 at-bats.

Apr 27, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (15) prior to the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Defensively, the Giants are one of the worst teams in the league, which probably can be connected to the team’s poor starting pitching, as mentioned before. The Giants have 76 errors so far this season, which ranks second-to-last in all of MLB.

Given all these problems, some fans have criticized Sabean for not being active enough at the trade deadline. Right now, with the Giants struggling as much as they are, they don’t even really have the option to be buyers. The Giants haven’t been playing well enough to be able to score a deal (other teams could be wary of the Giants’ struggles or raise the price due to their desperation).

Some fans say that the Giants need to be sellers at the trade deadline. This past homestand was a key part of the Giants’ schedule, and they went 3-7. This might be the time that Sabean should concede the season and starting building for next season.

With Lincecum and Zito becoming free agents at the end of this season (Vogelsong has a team option for next season), the Giants need to address their need for a starting pitcher soon. The Giants don’t have many starting pitching prospects in AAA, so perhaps they can start selling some players, such as Hunter Pence or Javier Lopez, in order to start re-building their starting pitching rotation.

Sabean has been questioned for some trades in the past, but in the past few years, he’s made several key trades that have allowed the Giants to be as successful as they have been. In 2010, he brought in players such as Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Andres Torres, Juan Uribe, and Lopez. Even though these players were outcasts and misfits, Bochy believed in them and put them in a position to succeed.

In 2012, Sabean brought in Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro. Bochy again made it possible for his players to succeed by putting them in new roles and constantly encouraging and believing in them. For example, he made Sergio Romo the closer, used Lincecum out of the bullpen, and stuck by his young players, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, despite some struggles at the plate.

Even though the Giants have had a disappointing season, it does not mean that Bochy and Sabean have been given too much credit for this team’s past success. They were the two masterminds behind constructing teams who won two World Series titles. The Giants have won two World Series titles in three years for a reason, and both Bochy and Sabean have played key roles.

San Francisco Giants Midseason Grades: Offense, Defense and Pitching

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Jul 13, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) celebrates with teammates after throwing a no hitter against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. The Giants won 9-0. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 season for the San Francisco Giants has certainly been a disappointment. After winning two World Series titles in three years, the Giants have looked tired this season and are now struggling just to get back to being a .500 team. Going into the All-Star break, the Giants have a 43-51 record, which puts them six and a half games back from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West standings.

One word to sum up the Giants’ season so far: inconsistent. Sometimes, this team looks unstoppable. When the Giants do what got them two World Series titles in the past three years, such as stellar starting pitching, perfect defense, and timely hitting, then they can win a lot of games.

Other times, this team’s effort is laughable. It all starts with the starting pitcher. If the starter gets off to a rough start and gives up some runs, it puts more pressure on the offense and defense, and many times, the Giants can’t recover.

The All-Star break couldn’t come soon enough for the Giants. They could use a break from the long road trips and the mental grind of the game.

Here are the Giants’ midseason grades:

San Francisco Giants: 3 Players They Should Pursue at the Trade Deadline

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

June 2, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Nick Noonan (left) catcher Buster Posey (center) and relief pitcher Sergio Romo (right) celebrate with teammates after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. San Francisco defeated St. Louis 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Out of 15 National League teams, the San Francisco Giants currently rank 13th with a 4.47 ERA for their starters. This is hard to believe given the fact that the Giants have won two World Series titles in the past three seasons behind dominant starting pitching.

Matt Cain struggled in the beginning of the season, Tim Lincecum has been inconsistent, and Barry Zito has a 10.41 ERA on the road. Because of their struggles, many analysts and fans have suggested that the Giants acquire a starting pitcher.

By adding another starting pitcher, the Giants could move Chad Gaudin back into his role as a reliever, which would strengthen the struggling bullpen. In addition, when Ryan Vogelsong comes back from injury, the Giants could also consider moving Lincecum to the bullpen. According to a club source, the Giants would convert Lincecum into a late-inning reliever “in a heartbeat,” and Lincecum said he is open to that change as well.

On the other hand, Bruce Bochy has said the Giants need the most help in the bullpen. If the Giants acquire a relief pitcher, they could continue to use Gaudin as a starter until Vogelsong comes back, and then when Vogelsong is healthy again, the Giants could move Gaudin back into his long reliever role.

The Giants also need a veteran outfielder, with Angel Pagan expected to be out until September, at the earliest. Gregor Blanco, Andres Torres, and Juan Perez are currently filling the void at center field and left field, but they’re collectively not providing enough offense to make up for Pagan’s energy and production in the leadoff spot.

Here are three players that the Giants could acquire at the trade deadline that would fill these needs:

San Francisco Giants: Why Fatigue Has Led to Their Recent Struggles

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

The San Francisco Giants are tired. They aren’t just physically tired; they’re also mentally tired. After playing a total of 178 games last season, the Giants had a shortened offseason and less time to recover, both mentally and physically, before this season. The Giants currently have a 38-40 record, third in the NL West, and they have lost four games in a row.

May 16, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain (18) reacts after giving up a home run during the third inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

In their last two games, the Giants have been outscored 7-0 in the 6th inning. Is this onslaught just bad luck? A coincidence? Actually, this stat explains a lot about the Giants’ recent struggles.

The sixth inning, in particular, has brought trouble to the Giants recently for several reasons. First of all, their pitching has taken a downturn starting around the sixth inning. The Giants’ pitching, in general, has been up and down all season.

At the beginning of the season, the starting pitching was horrendous. Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong, usually steady forces in the rotation, were horrible and didn’t show consistent command of their pitches. Because of this, the bullpen had to step up and pitch more than usual.

Recently, the starting pitching has picked up. In the month of June, Tim Lincecum has looked better and has posted a 3.60 ERA. Cain has improved steadily since his horrendous month of April when he had a 6.49 ERA. In the month of May, Cain had a 3.48 ERA and in June, Cain has a 3.58 ERA. Even though the starting pitching has picked up, the Giants have not yet thrown a complete game, which explains why the bullpen has looked tired.

The bullpen’s effectiveness has started to decline because of overuse in the beginning of the season. Several pitchers, such as George Kontos, have struggled with command, perhaps because of exhaustion.

The second reason why the sixth inning has been problematic is that the starting pitchers aren’t consistently making the right adjustments. As the sixth inning approaches, pitchers are generally set to face the opposing lineup the third time around. Often, it seems like the Giants’ starting pitcher will either pitch to the opposing batter the same way they have been all game, which ends up backfiring, or, if adjustments are made, the opposing batter anticipates it and knows how to beat that move.

By this time, the opposing batters have made their own adjustments as to how to approach their next at-bat, given what the pitcher has done in their previous at-bats. Therefore, the batter knows exactly how the pitcher is going to pitch to him, which can lead to base hits and runs.

The third reason these runs in the sixth inning could be occurring is simple exhaustion from high pitch counts. The Giants’ starters rank first in the NL for most pitches per plate appearance with 3.9 pitches. Many Giants’ starters drive the pitch count up high in each at-bat, which forces them to become more tired, earlier in the game. When pitchers become tired over the course of a game, they start to lose command of their pitches, and this has started happening to the Giants starters around the dreadful sixth inning.

Jun 17, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito (75) hands the ball to manager Bruce Bochy (15) after being taken against the San Diego Padres during the sixth inning at AT

Because of these reasons, Bruce Bochy has two options when managing a tough situation like this. He can leave the starter in the game longer, but that can backfire because it’s hard for a pitcher to re-gain command once he’s already lost it. It does seem like Bochy trusts his starters too much sometimes. He can get into the habit of leaving a pitcher in one batter too many, and it can end up costing the Giants a run or two.

The other option Bochy has is to pull the starter at the first sign of exhaustion and go to the bullpen. However, since the bullpen has been used so much this season, he has been hesitant to do that, which forces him to leave his starter in longer. This whole process becomes a vicious cycle, and the Giants are stuck in one right now.

In addition to the struggles the Giants have had with their pitching, they have also seemed lost at the plate recently. The Giants have several players on their roster who are known as “free swingers.” These players don’t generally take too many pitches, and, they have been swinging at pitches early in the pitch count. In addition, many of these pitches are out of the strike zone or just generally unhittable.

The Giants aren’t showing enough patience at the plate, so they miss the opportunity of being rewarded with mistake pitches or pitches that are more hittable. It just seems as if the long 2012 season is starting to catch up with them in terms of mental mistakes, fatigue, and injuries.

The Giants are in quite a difficult situation. They’re stuck in a vicious cycle where Bochy can’t trust his relief pitchers, and the starters are slowly falling apart. The mental and physical exhaustion has started to spread into the offense as well.

The All-Star break couldn’t come soon enough for the Giants. They could use a break from the long road trips and the mental grind of the game. The Giants will recover though; it’s just a matter of time.

San Francisco Giants: The Irony and Frustration of Ryan Vogelsong

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Ryan Vogelsong came into last night’s game with a 1-4 record and a 8.06 ERA, which was the highest ERA among all qualified starting pitchers in the National League. The good news for the San Francisco Giants is that Vogelsong looked spectacular in his start last night against the Nationals. The bad news is that Vogelsong was hit by a pitch mid-swing in the fifth inning. The worse news is that he dislocated a joint in his pinky on his pitching hand and has fractures above and below the knuckle. Vogelsong will have surgery today at Stanford Hospital and will be out for at least 4-6 weeks. Pins will likely be inserted into his pinky during surgery to assist the healing process.

May 20, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (32) follows through on a pitch against the Washington Nationals in the second inning at AT

Although the recovery is listed at 4-6 weeks, it will most likely take longer than that though for him to return to full strength. Vogelsong won’t be able to pitch until he’s fully healed and then will have to build up his arm strength again.

“It stinks,” Vogelsong said. “It stinks because it had been so rough, to go out there and feel like my old self again…it stinks.”

Vogelsong was having his best start of the season before his unfortunate injury occurred. He pitched five innings on 79 pitches (49 strikes), allowed three hits, struck out two, and walked one. He faced 19 batters and induced seven groundouts and four flyouts. With this quality performance, Vogelsong got the win tonight and improved his record to 2-4. His command of his fastball and changeup were great, he looked confident again, he gained count leverage several times, and he was able to hit the corners of the strike zone accurately, which is when he’s at his best.

Vogelsong also had two straight 1-2-3 innings in the first and second, and he showed he was able to get outs when he needed them. Angel Pagan helped him out in the second inning with a fantastic catch on Adam LaRoche’s deep flyout to center field. In the third inning, Zach Duke and Denard Span hit back-to-back singles, and Vogelsong was able to get out of it by getting Steve Lombardozzi to fly out. Vogelsong forced LaRoche to hit into a double play in the fourth inning to get out of a jam, and he forced Span to ground out after walking Craig Stammen.

Vogelsong has shown issues maintaining his consistency when pitching through an opponent’s batting order for a second time. However, after facing the Nationals’ lineup a second time, Vogelsong still had great command of his fastball and changeup and seemed to make the right adjustments in order to get outs. For example, Vogelsong struck out Bryce Harper in the first inning and got him to ground out in the fourth inning. It appeared as if he had resolved any mechanical issues that had been bothering him the past couple weeks. It also helped that Vogelsong received six runs of support in his five innings pitched.

“It’s a real shame because tonight he was the Vogey that we know,” Bruce Bochy said. “It’s a tough one. We feel bad for him.”

The Giants have been very lucky that their starting pitching staff hasn’t suffered any serious injuries in the past couple years. The starting rotation has struggled so far this season but not because of any serious injuries. With Vogelsong expected to be out about six weeks, the other starting pitchers have to step up now more than ever. The Giants will most likely make a roster decision soon as to who will replace Vogelsong’s spot in the lineup until he’s fully recovered. So what options do the Giants have?

1. Activate LHP Mike Kickham from Fresno.

Unfortunately, the Giants don’t have much depth at the starting pitcher position in their minor league system. Kickham currently has a 4.72 ERA, but he has looked much better this past month. In his last four starts, the left-hander has a 2-1 record, a 1.80 ERA, 25 strikeouts, and six walks. Kickham is still young, but he’s the most viable option out of Fresno for the Giants.

Apr 3, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants reliever Chad Gaudin (57) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Giants defeated the Dodgers 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. Move Chad Gaudin into a starting role.

Gaudin has been used as the long reliever so far this season, and he’s done well. He has a 2.10 ERA this season, and his longest outing was when he threw 72 pitches in relief of Vogelsong on May 15th. Gaudin is a versatile veteran who has starting, closing, and relief experience and could easily step into the role of a starting pitcher if needed to.

If Gaudin moved into a starting role, the Giants could potentially call up a pitcher like Heath Hembree from Fresno to fill Gaudin’s previous role. Hembree has had a fantastic season so far with the Grizzlies and was expected to be called up at some point in the season because of his stellar pitching. The right-hander has a 2.70 ERA, 21 strikeouts, and five walks in 19 games this season. The Giants could also choose to not make an additional roster move after moving Gaudin to a starting role, because they are already carrying 13 pitchers since they recalled Jean Machi from Fresno on Saturday.

It’s just a matter of time until the Giants make a move. They have an off-day on Thursday, so the Giants could potentially just skip Vogelsong’s next start while keeping the rest of the starters on their normal rest schedule. However, it’s not clear if the Giants would want to disrupt the normal rest pattern for the other starters in order to buy themselves a couple extra days.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle said, Vogelsong has come back from having Tommy John surgery, pitching overseas in Japan, and being cut from several other major league clubs. He’s a fighter and will surely come back from this injury stronger than ever. It’s both ironic and sad that Vogelsong was having his best start of the season when he suffered such a horrible injury. Baseball can be rough sometimes. However, Vogelsong is one of the hardest workers on the team, and the Giants will try their best to win games without him.