Lopez is central to success of Giants' bullpen

Lopez is central to success of Giants' bullpen

Lopez is central to success of Giants' bullpen
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants bullpen's solid performance on the recent six-game road trip played a big role in the team picking up five wins, with the Giants' relievers allowing one run in 18 innings in those wins.

On Sunday against the Cubs, the bullpen pitched four scoreless innings after starter Matt Cain allowed five runs in five innings in the Giants' 7-5 comeback win.

"I'm really proud of those guys," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Yesterday, they saved us. After Cain went five, they gave us four great innings. And really, none of them are getting overworked. They're getting it done."

Entrenched in the strong play of the Giants' bullpen has been Javier Lopez, who has thrived in late-inning situations since joining Bochy's new closer-by-committee setup. Lopez has not given up a run in his past 23 outings (15 innings), and in the recent road trip, he notched two saves and two holds in four appearances -- all on just 36 pitches.

"He's really pitching with a lot of confidence and hitting his spots, not just against lefties but against righties, too," Bochy said of Lopez. "He's really pounding the strike zone."

Bochy expects Jean Machi, who joined the club on Saturday after having his contract purchased from Triple-A Fresno, to play a role down the stretch, though he said Machi would likely not pitch on Monday. Machi had been serving as Fresno's closer this season, and the 30-year-old reliever has never appeared in the Major Leagues.

"He was closing in Fresno, and he did a nice job there," Bochy said. "I saw him in the spring, and he's got a nice fastball, with a slider [and] a split. He has the equipment to pitch up here. He's going to be out there some time, I just can't tell you when."