Ryan Vogelsong wasn’t exactly having a career year when he went down early in the season with a broken finger. His ERA was elevated and just like the rest of the San Francisco Giants, he wasn’t performing up to his usual level of excellence. Upon returning from the disabled list, Vogelsong found his teammates way out of the playoff race sitting in last place in the National League West. Since returning all Vogelsong has done is post a 2.55 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 24-2/3 innings. I think it’s safe to say they missed him a little.
The peak of his return so far was the eight-inning shutout performance he laid down against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates aren’t just some standard run of the mil team this year, they’re the third or fourth best team in the National League. Vogelsong placed himself firmly in the spotlight in shutting down the Pirates and spoiling their chance to regain sole possession of first place in the Central division.
Though there can be no doubt about the finish of the Giants this season, Vogelsong’s great stretch of starts is the latest in a string of performances that suggest this Giants team will be back next year for another run at a World Series title. Who knows, maybe they just like to take every other year off for some reason. Regardless of what happens with Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito or the rest of the staff, Vogelsong appears to be fine, healthy and ready to spoil more than just the Pirates for the rest of the 2013 season.