Giants using matchups for late-inning relief

Giants using matchups for late-inning relief

ST. LOUIS -- Prior to Tuesday night's win in St. Louis, Giants manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti sat down with their relievers to let them know what the plan would be until further notice.

Bochy informed the bullpen it'd be working with a "bullpen by committee" strategy, meaning that Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez will pitch the last two innings of games based on different matchups particular lineups present.

"They said, 'Look, this is what we have to do. We believe in you guys. We believe that we do a bullpen-by-committee scenario, we understand the situations that can take place. But we have a lot of faith that this bullpen can do it,'" Affeldt said after throwing the final 1 1/3 innings of Tuesday's game. "I think when you're addressed like that, you know your manager and your pitching coach both see the situation, and basically you're trying to back them up."

Clay Hensley got one out in the seventh, and Romo two in the eighth before Affeldt closed out the game for his third save of the year. Santiago Casilla, who is still battling blisters, warmed up in the sixth.

Bochy said Casilla, who has blown five of his last 10 save opportunities, will usually be called on to throw the sixth or seventh.

While most relievers may be used to having clear and defined roles, Affeldt said the Giants' bullpen is buying into the matchup-driven approach.

"When they defined it the way they did, we understand that there's certain game situations if there's switch-hitters, righties, lefties, different guys that are going to do different things," Affeldt said. "I think we all felt more comfortable being told what the situation was, and I think that gives us all mental peace."