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Outlook: Delgado needs to lower home run rate in '14

Thursday night's series finale between the D-backs and Giants features a pair of pitchers in need of good outings in Randall Delgado and Ryan Vogelsong.

Delgado's situation is more urgent than Vogelsong's at this point.

With the D-backs needing their starters to pitch deep into games, Delgado's failure to go longer than four innings while allowing six runs in his start last Friday against the Rockies did not please manager Kirk Gibson.

Gibson sent a warning shot across the bow of sorts when he said prior to Wednesday's game that the team might move reliever Josh Collmenter to the rotation if things don't improve.

"Obviously things have not been going as we planned," Gibson said. "We're better than this and we can't keep going on in this fashion."

Vogelsong likely has a longer leash than Delgado, but he also needs to pitch better going forward to hang on to his rotation spot.

The right-hander received mixed signals this offseason when the Giants declined his $6.5 million contract option before the two sides eventually settled on a one-year, $5 million deal.

Vogelsong allowed four runs on seven hits and lasted just four innings in his first start of the year against the Dodgers.

Should Vogelsong continue to struggle, the Giants do have other candidates, including right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, who was 4-1 as a starter down the stretch last season, or lefty David Huff, who has started 54 games in the Majors with the Indians and Yankees.

The team could also look to its farm system for left-hander Edwin Escobar, who is pitching at Triple-A Fresno and was rated as the 95th-best prospect in baseball by

D-backs: In search of a spark
The D-backs are looking for any little spark that can send them heading in the right direction.

For inspiration, Gibson looked back to 2011 when the D-backs won the National League West. That year, an unlikely home run by Sean Burroughs ended a losing streak and started a six-game winning streak in August.

"It can happen quick," Gibson said, "if somebody gets a big hit like Burroughs did in 2011. Who expected Burroughs to hit a home run and we win six in a row?"

Where they get that jump start from remains to be seen, but the D-backs are hoping it comes soon.

"Who's the guy?" Gibson said. "It's hard to determine what will help us get on track and what we strive for every day. The guys have good attitudes. They're preparing properly. They're loose. We've just got to fight through it. There are other teams that are struggling, too. They've got to do the same thing."

Giants: Saluting the 'Stick
Nostalgia will be plentiful Thursday at AT&T Park, where the Giants will honor their previous home, Candlestick Park, during "Farewell to the 'Stick" night. Candlestick, where the Giants played from 1960-99, is headed for extinction now that the 49ers are moving to Santa Clara, Calif.

Both Roger Craigs -- the former Giants manager and the ex-49ers running back -- will be among the luminaries who performed at Candlestick to be recognized in a pregame ceremony. Baseball's Craig had a lot to do with reviving the moribund franchise when he took over as manager late in the 1985 season.

Craig became famous for his "Humm-Baby" brand of enthusiasm, but he also just plain knew baseball. Bob Brenly, the D-backs broadcaster and former Giants catcher, illustrated Craig's acumen with this anecdote:

In one of the first games he caught after Craig became manager, Brenly gazed at a foul ball hit by the Dodgers' Steve Sax as it traveled into the stands. Brenly received a tongue-lashing from Craig after the inning ended. Craig had a message to impart.

"He said, 'When that foul ball goes out of play, you look at me, because I can give signs then,'" Brenly recalled. "'While everybody in the ballpark is watching the foul ball, give me a quick peek, I'll put a sign on, and then when the sign is normally given and everybody's watching me, I won't do anything.'

"It's a subtle little thing, but it really taught me -- every time a foul ball went out of play after that for the rest of my career, the first thing I did was look to the bench, right away. And I expected my guys to do it when I managed [with Arizona]. Back then, stealing signs was a big deal, and Roger was really good about stealing other people's signs. So he was very good about disguising his own. That was one of the things that really stood out."

Worth noting
• The D-backs are 6-for-8 in the stolen-base category this year after finishing last in the NL in 2013 with a 60 percent success rate.

• Since 2011, D-backs left fielder Mark Trumbo is third in the Majors in home runs with 100 behind Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista.

• The Giants play their first 22 games of the season and 25 of their first 28 against NL West opponents.

• The Giants have sold out their last 248 consecutive regular-season home games. It's the longest active regular-season sellout streak in the Majors. Comments