Once upon a time, the San Francisco Giants created a solid bullpen with stellar pitchers like Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, and Santiago Casilla.
They were known as “The Core 4” of the bullpen, fans cheered on when these four pave the way for the San Francisco Giants to win. Now, the bullpen has been a live train wreck to watch these days. It all started in the second half of the 2016 season which included 32 blown saves and one heart-breaking loss to the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.
Looking forward to a fresh start and leaving 2016 in the dust, spring training came around and the Giants hoped to turn around the bullpen with Hunter Strickland, Derek Law, Josh Osich, and Cory Gearrin. With the addition of closer Mark Melancon, it was hoped to lead the bullpen back to its glory days and to continue on what the Core 4 had started with.
Unfortunately, these four pitchers didn’t live up to their expectations. So far, the bullpen has given up 10 blown saves in 24 save opportunities this season. The bullpen has brought their expectations from high to low. In the last seven games, the bullpen had an 8.44 ERA. The Giants stand in last place with a 27-46 record and 20 games behind the first Colorado Rockies (That’s right, your eyes are not tricking you). The Giants have the worst record in the club’s history.
It seemed that Giants GM, Bobby Evans hoped to homegrown these pitchers and become the next “Core 4” in the newly fresh start of 2017 season. It didn’t work as plan though as the bullpen continue to crumble. On Tuesday, Law was sent back to AAA after his last outing on Monday night against the Atlanta Braves where Law gave up five hits and walk. Yeah, it was ugly. And to make matters worst, the Giants are down a pitcher as Strickland is serving a six-day suspension in his part of the fight aka mosh pit against the National’s Bryce Harper on May 29th game.
As for the rest, Osich has been ineffective against right-handers. Melancon who signed with the Giants in the offseason, hasn’t stepped up either as the new closer. Melancon has four blown saves in the season and ERA of 4.82. As for Gearrin, he has the lowest ERA out of the group with 1.86.
As much as I would love to see the bullpen back to the way it was in the last couple years. It’s impossible to replace the talent of what the “Core 4” had. I’m not trying to say the current bullpen isn’t talented at all, but it’s not enough to bring life into the bullpen. The past and current pitchers of the bullpen are different.
It’s time for the Giants figure out what direction they’re going to take with the bullpen moving forward.