The Giants seem to be hitting their stride one week before the All-Star Break. They have won seven of their last ten games and have taken over first place in the NL West from the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. A big factor in passing Los Angeles was the three-game sweep of the Dodgers in San Francisco that saw the Giants sweep a series from the Dodgers while shutting them out all three games for the first time in franchise history. Let's recap the Giants season thus far by position and move on the bullpen.
THE BULLPEN: B+
Things got off to a rough start for the Giants bullpen with the loss of closer Brian Wilson after two appearances. Wilson struggled in his two games thanks to an elbow injury. That injury was severe enough to force Wilson to undergo 'Tommy John' surgery and miss the rest of 2012. With the loss of the closer, Santiago Casilla has been anointed the closer and has done a very capable job. As of July 1st, he has converted 21 of 24 saves with a 2.61 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Casilla has struggled mightily over the last week; surrendering two blown saves and almost losing a four run lead in a game against Oakland. Casilla looks like he needs a week out of the closer's role to regain his confidence and to get his mind right.
Sergio Romo has been stellar again this season, and might see a little more ninth inning action with the recent blown saves by Casilla. Romo is 4 for 4 in save opportunities, has 13 holds, a .79 ERA, and a .75 WHIP. Romo has shown that he can succeed in save situations, so don't be surprised to see him get some chances until Casilla can show he has just gone through a rough patch and is reset and ready to go.
The performance of the supporting bullpen cast has been above expectations. Jeremy Affeldt, Clay Hensley, and Javier Lopez have been solid in mid to late inning relief. Lopez has been dealing against lefties like he normally does. Affeldt has been tough on both lefties and righties and has provided valuable innings out of the 'pen. And Hensley, who had no guarantee of making the team out of spring training, has proved to be jack-of-all trades for the Giants. He has pitched multiple innings after a short starter outing, has set up for Casilla, and has filled in and saved a couple of games.