Well, it only took one regular season game for the San Francisco Giants‘ bullpen to implode. After a brilliant performance by Madison Bumgarner on the mound, as well as at the plate, the Giants should have started the year off 1-0. Instead, the revamped bullpen pitched like the 2016 Giants, who blew a league high 30 saves.
Derek Law began the eighth inning by allowing three straight singles, costing the team a run and tying the game 4-4. After Law was removed, the only lefty arm in the bullpen, Ty Blach, entered. Luckily for Law, Blach was able to generate an inning ending double play ball. San Francisco got another chance to end the game after scoring a run in the top of the ninth.
The Giants’ big free agent acquisition this offseason, Mark Melancon, is as much of a sure thing at closing games as there is in the big leagues. This was not the case this past Sunday afternoon. Melancon got the first two hitters out quickly, but was not able to finish out the game. He allowed two runs and lost his first game in a Giants’ uniform.
Giants’ fans should not worry about Melancon just yet. Over the previous three seasons, Melancon has saved 131 games in 141 opportunities. If he starts blowing save chances at a high rate, then there can be a cause for concern. The rest of the bullpen on the other hand is another story.
San Francisco manager, Bruce Bochy, has won World Series with his strategic bullpen usage. With only one left handed arm in the bullpen, he will not be able to implant a lefty pitcher to lefty hitter match-up more than once a game. The longtime Giants skipper will now have to rely on his right-handed relief options to get left-handed batters out.
It was just game one of 162, but Law was still unable to keep the lead. He will most likely get many more opportunities before they remove him from the role. Hunter Strickland will also see time in the seventh and eighth innings with a lead in the game. If the Giants continue to struggling finishing games, look for the front office to make a move sooner rather than later.
Harrison Howard covers the San Francisco Giants and Fantasy Baseball as a Staff Writer for OPSN. Follow him on Twitter @harryhoward54.