SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' bullpen is matching its efficiency with frequency. Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo are on pace to finish the regular season with more than 70 appearances apiece. At the current rate, Affeldt would accumulate 79 outings, Lopez 77, Wilson 76 and Romo 74. The only other year in the franchise's San Francisco history that four Giants relievers each amassed at least 70 appearances was 1997 (Julian Tavarez 89, Doug Henry 75, Rod Beck 73, Rich Rodriguez 71).
Like this year's team, the 1997 club excelled in close games. Those Giants compiled the Major Leagues' best record in one- and two-run decisions (43-28, .606). "Usually if you're putting that type of work in, most of the time that's a good sign, you know what I'm saying?" Affeldt said Tuesday. San Francisco entered Tuesday trailing San Diego for the league's lowest ERA by an infinitesimal amount, 2.8304 to 2.8252. Also before Tuesday, Giants relievers had allowed zero earned runs in 17 innings at AT&T Park while limiting opponents to a .020 batting average (1-for-51). By now, it has become obvious that the Giants' bullpen is extremely balanced. Guillermo Mota, who usually fills the long relief role, is the only member of the bullpen with an ERA exceeding 3.00. "If I'm having a rough day, how many guys can back me up?" Romo asked rhetorically.