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SF Giants: Jake McGee’s impressive stretch out of the bullpen

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 31: Jake McGee #17 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Houston Astros at Oracle Park on July 31, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 31: Jake McGee #17 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Houston Astros at Oracle Park on July 31, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 05: Jake McGee #17 of the San Francisco Giants delivers a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 05, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, SF Giants close Jake McGee was selected as the National League Reliever of the month for July. It is a nice honor to recognize how well he has pitched recently, but his strong run as the team’s closer extends beyond just one month.

SF Giants: Jake McGee’s impressive stretch out of the bullpen

On May 30, 2021, McGee came into a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers to preserve a 5-2 advantage. It was not the cleanest inning as the defense allowed Cody Bellinger to reach base on an error and then McGee yielded a home run to Albert Pujols.

He allowed two runs that night, including one earned run, but still managed to notch his 12th save of the season. That game was over two months ago at this point and that was the last time that McGee has allowed an earned run.

The veteran reliever has been on a dominant stretch over the past two months. Since that game at the end of May, McGee has allowed eight hits against 20 strikeouts and only two walks across 23.2 frames with 12 saves.

On the year, he has registered a 2.14 ERA, 2.97 FIP, 0.734 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, and a 7.00 SO/W ratio to go along with 24 saves. This is turning out to be a bargain deal for the Giants after they signed the veteran southpaw to a two-year, $5 million deal with a team option this past offseason.

Perhaps, the most interesting part of McGee’s success is how he gets opposing hitters out. The 35-year-old relies heavily on a md-90’s fastball that he pairs with an occasional slider. Everyone knows what pitch is coming, yet major league hitters struggle to make contact with it at times.

McGee’s fastball is truly unique. He locates it at the top of the strike zone and the pitch moves in on left-handed hitters and away from right-handed hitters. At that speed and location, it is tough for opposing hitters to do any damage against it, especially as they try to generate loft with their swing.

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McGee had a very strong month and was recognized for it. He has also been one of the Giants’ best relievers for a bullpen that ranks as one of the better units in baseball with a 3.26 ERA. He has excelled with the Giants and it is a stretch of play that now spans three months. Pretty impressive for a reliever who was signed without a lot of fanfare.

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