So Far So Good
The Giants are officially red hot after sweeping the Braves in Atlanta, running their winning streak to five games and their season record to 20-11. The main reason seems to be the exceptional bullpen pitching the Giants have had so far.
Closer Sergio Romo‘s 2.03 ERA is only the fifth best on the club. Jean Machi perhaps deserves the most credit with an 0.60 ERA across 16 appearances and 15 innings pitched, but he’s hardly the only one who has been dealing. In fact, the only reliever who hasn’t been especially effective is David Huff, but he (1) wasn’t terrible (3.86 ERA), (2) is currently on the disabled list, and (3) was effectively replaced by Jeremy Affeldt who has yet to be charged with a run.
Currently, the Giants also have a nice mix of guys who can hit but don’t play much defense (Mike Morse and Brandon Hicks) and players who can play great defense but don’t hit enough (Gregor Blanco and Joaquin Arias), which allows the Giants to give most of the plate appearances to the former and put the latter in for late inning defense in their many close, low-scoring games. Hicks in particular has been an out-of-nowhere revelation and the kind of money-ball offensive player the Giants rarely have or appreciate.
The main issue now is whether enough of the team’s many oldsters can stay healthy for enough of the season to keep the Giants in the race. Also, I don’t think the bullpen can keep up its current performance.
However, I don’t think Brandon Hicks’ performance so far is out of line with his past minor league performance and his current age (28), and at some point Pablo Sandoval is going to get hot. When he does, he’ll pick up someone else getting cold. Also, Jake Dunning and Heath Hembree at AAA Fresno both look ready to step into the breach when and if the bullpen falters. In conclusion, so far so good.