If the Giants are to make a deep run in the playoffs in October, a healthy starting rotation is one important key.
Currently, San Francisco is without starting pitchers Alex Wood and Johnny Cueto, though Wood will start Saturday and Cueto is progressing towards a return. Without two of the five members of the rotation, the Giants' (already heavily used) bullpen has thrown multiple nine-inning games in recent weeks.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi discussed the rigors of a contending team's bullpen this time of year, and how "bullpen games" can add an extra level of fatigue.
“I think keeping everybody fresh is really important," Zaidi told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks" on Thursday. "I don’t think it’s any different for us than it is for other contenders. You get in the stretch drive and there’s a different workload for your top relievers. Every game matters a lot and maybe guys you only use when you’re up a run or two or three in those kinds of save situations, suddenly you’re using when you’re down one or two because it’s so important. So when you combine that with bullpen games where your whole pen is throwing, then it can multiply.”
Having used the bullpen for all nine innings in three games this week alone, the Giants will be eager to revert back to a normal five-man rotation once Wood and Cueto return soon.
“It’s always better when you have the baseline game from starting pitchers," Zaidi said. "The bullpen game … we have a good crew, we’ve had some success with it but our preference is always to have somebody eat up a chunk of the game right out of the gate.”