The term "bullpen" has in the last few years become a word of utter disappointment around San Francisco.
In 2007 and 2008 Giants starters held their breath leaving the game with lead, waiting to exhale.
And most often in those days—it didn't bode well.
In the offseason, the Giants made some moves to shore the sinking bullpen. One of those moves has paid off. Extremely well.
Jeremy Affeldt has been nothing short of nasty as a middle reliever/set-up man. So far, San Francisco and Affeldt have gone together like peas and carrots.
The seven year veteran pitchher has seen action in Kansas City, Colorado, and briefly Cincinnati before finding his best season in San Francisco with the Giants.
Affeldt is now the go-to-guy in the bullpen. The 30 year old lefty has not allowed an earned run since May 7th. His 1.32 ERA speaks for itself, and his game face speaks for every Giants reliever.
Bob Howry was another offseason addition to the bullpen. Howry has had good outings, but overall he has not been "the guy" for the Giants.
Sergio Romo, a product of the Giants farm system, has been very solid in relief for the Giants. Romo, a California native saw his first Major League action in brief stints in 2008.
Romo started the season on the disabled list with a elbow sprain. Since his return in June, the young righty has filled a nice role in keeping games close for the Giants.
Closer Brian Wilson has been a scary yet very affective pitcher in the ninth. The tattooed, mohawk sporting fireballer is tied for the NL lead in saves (23) and has a fastball upwards of 98 mph.
Wilson hasn't exactly been lights out in the ninth inning in 2009. His habit of walking baserunners or allowing hits has kept us all biting our nails. Bottom line—he still gets it done better than most of the league.
San Francisco's relief squad must find a way to improve on their good half in they want to stay ahead of the wildcard pack.