Ryan Vogelsong's streak of 6-inning starts puts him in elite, impressive pitching company.
The alternate title for this piece could very well be, "Appreciating Ryan Vogelsong." That's because what Vogelsong did this season was insanely impressive.
He's not done, of course, but after Monday night's shellacking at the hands of the Washington Nationals, Vogelsong's incredibly impressive streak is gone.
I'm talking about his ability to crank out quality (or near-quality) outings: Vogelsong ended a 21-start streak of six or more innings pitched on Monday, tying him for the longest streak in baseball in 2012.
He's tied with Justin Verlander (who lost his streak on July 26) and Jordan Zimmerman (who lost his on July 28) with 21, three ahead of the next closest guy, Cole Hamels. Only two more people -- Jake Peavy and another Giants pitcher, Madison Bumgarner -- have more than 15 and they have exactly that many.
In other words, going six innings every start for a long period of time is a) not easy and b) something only even some of the top pitchers in baseball have been unable to do for a long period of time.
During Vogelsong's streak, only two of those starts (not counting Monday's debacle obviously) featured more than three earned runs.
In other words, he's been impressively impressive over the course of 2012, remaining one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball.
He's not some dominating strikeout artist and he's not a real threat to throw any complete-game shutouts when he takes the mound. Hitters don't quiver in their cleats when he starts his windup.
But given a) what the Giants gave up for him (plus his contract), and b) what's expected out of him, it's absolutely worth appreciating what Vogelsong's been able to do for the Giants this season, particularly coming off a big year that no one thought was anywhere close to repeatable.