Ryan Vogelsong finally looked great last night against the Washington Nationals. He lasted five innings and was shutting out one of the National League’s youngest and most exciting lineups. Then he was hit in the right hand – his pitching hand – while swinging at a pitch.
Boom, broken hand. He will miss the next six weeks.
Obviously it’s a big blow to Vogelsong and his attempt to get back on track this season, but it’s an even bigger loss for the already struggling Giants starting rotation.
Vogelsong was sporting a 8.06 ERA before yesterday’s win. Matt Cain, Mr. Perfect and ace of the staff, has a 5.43 ERA in his first nine starts. Tim Lincecum has improved from last season, but is still putting up a 4.70 ERA this year.
The only bright spots on this rotation are Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner. Zito has a 3.91 ERA, which is low for him so I’ll take it. Bumgarner, on the other hand, has been the savior for the Giants.
A 3.09 ERA and a 3.87 K/BB ratio is the best out of the rotation as the young left-hander has emerged as this team’s ace. However, the team is short on starting pitching (thanks Beltran).
So, what are the Giants going to do with Vogelsong?
The Giants will play 38 games in his absence – seven starts. Let’s take a look at some options:
Option #1 – Chad Gaudin
This is the expected decision for Bruce Bochy and his staff to make. He has experience in the big leagues as a starter (75 games) with a 4.72 ERA, which is significantly better than Vogelsong’s 8+ ERA. However, he hasn’t started a big league game since 2009.
So far this season, he has been a pretty decent long-reliever for the Giants. In 25.2 innings pitched, he has only surrendered six runs for a 2.10 ERA.
If the Giants don’t chose him, they might consider…
Option #2 – Boof Bonser
Ah, Boof. It has been quite sometime since we have seen him and if I were to pick a guy to fill in for Vogelsong, I would pick him – they have basically the same story.
Vogelsong was drafted by the Giants in the fifth round in 1998, Bonser was drafted in the first round in 2000. After years of mediocre pitching for other teams, they both have found the Giants late in their careers.
I remember Bonser was going to be the next ace for the Giants and now he might get his chance. He is the second-most qualified after starting 60 games with a 4.92 ERA in ’06-’08.
This year, he has been pitching for the Fresno Grizzlies. He has a 2-3 record with a 4.89 ERA in nine starts. So maybe the Giants wont pick him…
Option #3 – Shane Loux
We have seen this guy before. Last year he stepped in the bullpen and pitched about 25 innings. He wasn’t great, giving up an ERA of almost five.
Even though Loux was pretty unspectacular last season, he does have 10 career starts in the big leagues with a 6.78 ER- okay never mind he sounds like a terrible replacement.
Option #4 – Yusmeiro Petit
This one is just as likely than option #3 because Petit had an awful three starts in spring training and he really isn’t improving.
A 7.11 ERA in the spring this year and a career 5.22 ERA as a starter before 2010 with Arizona are terrible facts to out down on a resume when applying for Vogelsong’s job.
The man has a 6.69 ERA with Fresno this season for gods sake.
Option #5 – Justin Fitzgerald
The 27-year-old is only one game deep in his Triple-A career, but he has great numbers in the lower levels as a starter.
In 87 starts in San Jose and Richmond, Fitzgerald has a 29-23 record with a 3.25 ERA. The Giants will most likely wait to see how he does in the hitting-heavy Pacific Coast League before they bring him up.
The Giants also brought up Sandy Rosario, but I don’t expect him to be a starting option for the team with his lack of starting experience.
The Giants have a few days to make their decision, but I can see them picking any of these five options.