Vogelsong bringing heat out of Giants' bullpen

Vogelsong bringing heat out of Giants' bullpen

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ryan Vogelsong is throwing a lot less these days. He's also throwing significantly harder.

Moved from the Giants' starting rotation to the bullpen after the All-Star break, Vogelsong has gained velocity on his fastball. He reached 93-94 mph during the perfect ninth inning he pitched Tuesday night against Milwaukee, compared with the range of 89-91 mph he consistently maintained as a starter.

Asked if he feels freer to throw with abandon as a reliever as opposed to conserving his energy as a starter, Vogelsong said Wednesday, "With the fastball, yeah." But he added that his sharper stuff also can be attributed to intangibles.

"It's just like a hitter," said Vogelsong, who has allowed one earned run in 7 2/3 innings spanning his last five relief appearances. "You feel comfortable or you get in one of those stretches where you don't feel comfortable. This is one of those stretches right now where everything's feeling pretty good. I feel fresh; I'm sure that probably helps."

Vogelsong's currently one of eight relievers on the Giants' staff. With the starters struggling to last as long as six innings per outing, manager Bruce Bochy needs as much reinforcement as he can receive from the bullpen, which entered Wednesday with a 0.74 ERA since the All-Star break.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.