Second-guessing Bochy

If the Giants lose Game 4 — and they’re now well on their way — Bruce Bochy will be second-guessed for starting Ryan Vogelsong instead of Madison Bumgarner. But the smart set generally didn’t think Bumgarner on short rest was any better than Bumgarner, let alone Bumgarner again on short rest in a potential Game 7.

In the first two innings, Vogelsong made Bochy look smart. But in the third, things went terribly wrong for Vogelsong and the Giants.

First it took Vogelsong eight pitches to put away Jason Vargas, his opposite number. Escobar singled hard on an 0-1 pitch. Gordon hit into a fielder’s choice, also on an 0-1 pitch. Well into Lorenzo Cain’s at-bat, Gordon took off for second and was nearly thrown out to end the inning. Should have been, really; Posey got a great pitch to handle, but his throw was off-line. So Gordon was safe. Then Cain hit an infield single, and two pitches later Eric Hosmer did the same.

These are not hard-hit balls. To that point, Escobar’s was the only hard-hit ball. Bud Black recently told me that managers start to worry about a pitcher when he’s thrown 30 pitches in an inning. Or maybe it was 25. To this point, Vogelsong had still thrown only 20 pitches in the inning, after breezing through the first two frames. There simply wasn’t any real reason to worry about him.

Right around this time, Jean Machi was warming up in the bullpen. With a right-handed hitter on deck, Vogelsong walked lefty-hitting Moustakas on four pitches.

Still only 24 pitches, and then Vogelsong got ahead 0-2 on Omar Infante. Then he missed with a couple of pitches before grooving a fastball that Infante smacked into center field for a two-run single and a 3-1 lead.

That’s 29 pitches, and pitching to another hitter will almost certainly push Vogelsong past 30. Vogelsong stayed in, got way behind Salvador Peréz, and wound up giving up another single, this one decently hit. Which made it 4-1. And finally brought Bochy out of the dugout.

So yes, there were warning signs. Walking Moustakas on four pitches — remember, he’s a hard guy to walk — was a warning sign. Throwing a hit-me fastball to Infante was a warning sign. Reaching 29 pitches was a warning sign. So if I’ll question Bochy, it’s about letting Vogelsong face Peréz. Which accounted for the fourth run. The previous three, though? There wasn’t anything to be done about those.