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San Francisco Giants Spring Training Preview: Relief Pitchers

Oct 8, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Derek Law (64) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning during game two of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Derek Law (64) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning during game two of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Francisco Giants still have some questions to answer in their bullpen. As we head into Spring Training, it is important to take a look at each position to see who will make the team, who is fighting for a spot on the Opening Day roster, and who is being invited for experience.

The San Francisco Giants bullpen received the majority of the criticism in 2016 for the team’s struggles in the second half of the season and in the playoffs. After a complete game from Madison Bumgarner in the National League Wild Card game, the bullpen struggled against the eventual World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

In the final game of the postseason, Matt Moore pitched eight strong innings and left the game with a 3-run lead. The collective struggles of the bullpen throughout the year were showcased in that ninth inning that seemed inevitable.

With Santiago Casilla losing his job as the closer, manager Bruce Bochy tried to finish the game by committee.  One after another, pitchers struggled to get outs.

Javier Lopez, one of the most consistent left-handed specialists in baseball history, walked a left-handed hitter. Sergio Romo, who for years was the team’s closer as well as lethal in the postseason, gave up big hits to the heart of the Cubs order.

The biggest splash of the offseason was in the bullpen, with the signing of Mark Melancon to a 4-year contract. Bringing Melancon in to be the team’s closer ended the tenures of former closers Casilla and Romo. They have since signed with the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers respectively.

Lopez has since announced his retirement, so he is not an option in the Giants bullpen this year either.

With no other big additions, many familiar faces will be shaping the 2017 bullpen.

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