SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have been down this path before with a right-handed starter. It was just last year, in fact.
Ryan Vogelsong took a far different road to big league success than Tim Lincecum did, but his early struggles this season have come on just as quickly as Lincecum's did a year ago. Vogelsong was rocked again Thursday, giving up six earned runs in 41/3 innings of a 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
A year ago it was Lincecum who ranked last among National League starters in ERA. Through seven starts this season, Vogelsong's 7.78 mark is the worst in the league.
Asked if Vogelsong would take his next turn in the rotation, manager Bruce Bochy was vague.
"These are things we'll talk about internally," Bochy said. "Right now I'm not ready to discuss that. He's healthy. We have options, I'll leave it at that."
The Giants have a day off Monday, so they could push back his next start. But Vogelsong fully expects to start next Wednesday in Toronto.
"Why wouldn't I?" he said.
Vogelsong took heart in the fact that he struck out seven, including three in the first inning. Brian McCann hit a two-run homer in the second inning, but Vogelsong got a big double play to escape a jam in the third and then struck out three more Braves in the fourth. Vogelsong looked headed for his best outing of the season, but for the second straight start, he couldn't make it out of the fifth inning.
"I got away with a few the first couple of innings," he said. "It just seems like lately when things are going bad, they hit the bad ones and the good ones."
In his past three starts, Vogelsong has given up 24 hits in 14 innings. He has been charged with at least four runs in six of his seven starts, but he was adamant that he would get over this hurdle, as he has done his whole career.
"It's a tough game, and sometimes it will beat you down," Vogelsong said, pointing out that he has had rough patches during the past two seasons, too. "I've been here before and come through the other side, and I will again. I came through it after 13 years, I came through it after August of 2011, I came through it after August and September of 2012.
"I'll come through it this year."
"He's a little sore," Bochy said. "We'll let this calm down."
Still, the Giants are a little concerned about their bullpen depth. After needing two innings each from George Kontos and Chad Gaudin, Bochy said the staff would discuss the possibility of adding another pitcher to the bullpen.
Casilla has a 2.12 ERA this season and entered Thursday tied with Romo for second in the National League in appearances (19). Kontos (18 games after Thursday) isn't far behind, and even before Casilla's injury, Bochy was concerned about the number of appearances being made by his right-handed relievers.
"Yeah, I'm conscious of it," Bochy said Wednesday morning. "You have to be careful you don't wear those guys down, because then it takes two or three weeks to get them back. I (have been) trying to back off of them."
Because of another short outing for his starter, Bochy wasn't able to back off much on Thursday.
Marco Scutaro extended his hitting streak to nine games and had two hits. Angel Pagan returned to the lineup after missing three of the last four games with a groin strain.