DETROIT -- Until replacing the injured Barry Zito in the San Francisco Giants’ rotation early last season, Ryan Vogelsong had gone seven years without starting a major-league game and six without winning one. In fact, Vogelsong didn’t pitch at all in the big leagues from 2007-2010, spending that time either in Japan or in Triple-A.
Out of nowhere, look at what the 34-year-old right-hander has done the last two seasons. He’s posted a 27-16 record, pitched in the All-Star Game last year and gets the ball tonight with a chance to give the Giants a virtually insurmountable 3-0 lead in the World Series against the Detroit Tigers.
“It’s not really time to think about that too much,” Vogelson said Friday in Comerica Park. “You know, you realize obviously you’re in the World Series, and [tonight] 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 and giving us a chance to win the game.”
The Giants were Vogelsong’s initial organization when he was drafted in 1998 and the first team he hit the big leagues with in 2000. But he was traded by the Giants and has been released by three other teams.
“It feels great when you think about Ryan and his story, and how much he did have to persevere, to see what he’s doing now,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “You feel great and good for that guy because of all he’s gone through, and all the work he’s gone through to get to this point.”
Despite his sudden success the last two years -- which includes 16 straight quality starts in 2012 -- Vogelson isn’t taken his spot in the rotation for granted. And that’s even though he’s 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts this postseason, with the wins coming in Games Two and Six of the NLCS against St. Louis.
“I feel like every day I come in here with a little chip on my shoulder and that I need to work harder than the next guy to try and get myself better on a daily basis,” he said. “And definitely game day, there’s a chip there.”
Vogelsong’s career has blossomed under pitching coach Dave Righetti thanks to a repertoire that includes a sinker, curveball and changeup.
“Obviously I’ve had a solid year last year (13-7, 2.71), solid year this year (14-9, 3.37) and there’s lots of guys in this game that have put together two good years,” he 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.”
Vogelsong on tonight’s forecast that has temperatures possibly slipping into the high 30s by the end of the game.
“It’s the World Series,” he said. “You can’t be worried about how cold it is. I threw a game in Chicago last year where it was 34 degrees, and it was raining and sleeting, and I threw the ball pretty well that night. I don’t suspect that cold weather is going to be much of an issue. If I am thinking about how cold it is, it means I’m not thinking about what I’m doing on the mound.
• Bochy said he’s leaning toward using backup catcher Hector Sanchez as the designated hitter tonight. Sanchez is 0 for 5 in the postseason.
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the seven shutout innings thrown in Game Two by Giants starter Madison Bumgarner made him just the second pitcher in history to pitch scoreless ball in at least seven innings over his first two World Series starts. Bumgarner threw eight shutout innings in Game Four of the 2010 Series in Texas.
• The other pitcher on the list is Hall of Famer and fellow Giant Christy Mathewson, who pitched a shutout in each of his first three World Series starts (Games One, Three and Five against the Philadelphia Athletics in 1905).
• Bumgarner and Barry Zito are the first pair of left-handed teammates to start and win the first two games of a Series since Ron Guidry and Tommy John did it for the Yankees in 1981 (New York’s only wins over the Dodgers).