CHICAGO Its hard to feel confident in acloser-by-committee approach whenever a team tries to employ it down thepennant stretch. But so far, Giants relievers mostly are missing their thumbswhen they slam their gavels.
Even though the road is always more stressful for thebullpen, the Giants recorded saves in each of their victories while going 5-1 ontheir road trip to Minute Maid Park and Wrigley Field.
Bruce Bochy matched em up and right-hander Sergio Romo gotthe save three times. Left-hander Javier Lopez earned two, both with double-playgrounders including one to bring an end to affairs in Sunday afternoons 7-5victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Bochy knew hed have to put on his salesmans hat when hemet with the relievers Aug. 6 in St. Louis, and informed them that they wouldform a closer by committee for the remainder of the season.
As any door-to-door vacuum peddler could tell you, nothingsells like seeing the product in action.
Given the committee's success, does Bochy believe the relievers are buying into it now?
Yeah, I do, the manager said. Theyre fine with it. Itsabout trying to win ballgames. Theyre all in on that and they put their egosaside and what a job they did (Sunday).
Its so important that they buy into doing whatever theycan to win a ballgame, and not get caught up in whos getting the save or holdor whatever.
The Giants are 66-2 when they lead after eight innings, and7-5 when theyre tied after eight. So the bullpen remains more an asset than aliability, for sure.
BAGGARLY: Giants are loose, confident as they hit stretch drive
Lopez wasnt ready to compose an aria to the committeeapproach yet, though.
Its working out pretty well so far, said Lopez, who hasntbeen charged with a run in 23 consecutive appearances. Obviously, the resultshave been there. Its nice to have (Sergio) Romo to fall back on and (Santiago)Casilla already proven he can get righties or lefties out. I think all thepieces are in place.
Its the way well go into this month and hopefully thepostseason. Its what we have to get used to regardless of any personal opinionwe may have.
Bochy made a good point about Matt Cain, who was pulledafter five innings and 91 pitches: The lightened load should benefit him.
Cain threw 118 pitches in his previous start at Houston andhad been over 100 twice before that, too.
One more item worth pointing out: Because the Giants get abreak on Thursday, Cain will have an extra day of rest before his next start.And Cain has been much less hittable when given an extra day of rest thisseason.
In 14 starts on regular rest, he has a 3.28 ERA and a .258opponents average (92 hits in 93 13 innings).
In 10 starts on one extra day of rest, he has a 2.45 ERA anda .180 opponents average (46 hits in 73 13 innings).
One more fact to mention: Cains next start will comeSaturday against the Dodgers.
Itll be another new experience for Xavier Nady when hemakes his home debut as a Giant on Monday. The Salinas native and Cal alum isalready getting blitzed for tickets from family and friends.
Nady will have a new number, clubhouse manager Mike Murphypromised. The only Giant ever to wear No. 68, Nady will switch to No. 12 lastworn by Danvilles Nate Schierholtz, another player who grew up going to Giantsgames.
Nady wore his pulling guards number very well over twogames. First came the three-run double in Saturdays debut. Then he doubled andwalked twice to start all three of the Giants scoring rallies in Sundayscome-from-behind victory.
Yet when asked if he should think about hanging on to No. 68,the ballplayer good-naturedly lectured the media about being superstitious.
Hopefully its not the jersey that affects you, Nady said.
The Giants are set to renew their player development contract with Triple-A Fresno, according to David Taub of Fresno-based Taub Sports.