The Giants are having a very good month of playing baseball, and bully for them. The bullpen, however, is not having all that great of a month. Even during the Giants' pitching-fueled rise to the top of the NL West, the bullpen was mostly watching the starters perform spectacularly and nodding at each other when someone would confidently proclaim, "Yeah, I could totally do that too."
When they have gotten into the game, the bullpen has been shaky enough to make Giants fans everywhere cringe in reflexive horror. But who is the most confidence-inspiring and who is making us cover our faces and watch the games through the spaces between our fingers? Time for volume two of bullpen trust power rankings!
1. Santiago Casilla (Last month: 4)
Is this really where we're at? Casilla has very unfairly been an "Oh no, him" guy for Giants fans for (counts on fingers) a lot of years now, and since he's finally ascending to the top of the power rankings, I apologize for the save he blows within the next 2 days. However, despite a couple shaky outings and some very questionable lefty/righty splits – lefties are currently slugging over .600 against him on the year, which is not ideal – Santiago Casilla is not any kind of problem in the bullpen. Even though the ninth inning can be stressful, we all feel much better once the Giants have gotten there and put Casilla on the mound. Top spot for you, Santiago. Congratulations.
I would like to reiterate: I am very sorry for the save Santiago Casilla will soon blow because of this praise.
2. Cory Gearrin (Last month: 5)
If you'd have told me that I would trust Cory Gearrin more than all but one member of the bullpen by the end of May, I'd have assumed that either the bullpen's basketball team had a freak accident that left mangled limbs everywhere, or that Gearrin and I had just starred in some kind of real life buddy comedy where we learned to overcome our differences in order to stop an Eastern European drug lord from taking over a small town for his nefarious drug purposes. Turns out, he's just been pretty good at the right times and just about everyone else has been pretty bad at the wrong times. It's a lot simpler than I thought.
3. Derek Law (Last month: 1)
Law is coming off a fantastic two inning outing in Atlanta, but even without that his month of May has generally been fine. He hasn't been quite as impressive as he was in April, partly because that's an impossible and unreasonable expectation, but he's still put together a delightfully non-terrible month. We all very much appreciate his contributions during May. and hope he can keep it up in the future.
4. Albert Suarez (Last month: NR)
He has been very good and I don't expect it to last, but the beat writers have said that he's almost certainly going to be the starting pitcher tomorrow, so really Albert Suarez should be in the Starter Trust Power Rankings. SPOILER: Suarez comes in fourth there too.
4. Hunter Strickland (Last month: 3)
This is not an endorsement of Hunter Strickland as much as it is a statement about the pitchers below him in this list. Strickland, at least, has his FIP and his fastball and a tendency to avoid walks and is coming off a fantastic 2015. That's not nothing! Strickland has also tended to give up runs in big situations. That's also not nothing. So here he is, right in the middle.
5. George Kontos (Last month: 5, if he'd been healthy)
Kontos has been not great this year, and he has especially been not great since he came off the DL in mid-May. Those are bad things. But on the other hand, he sure did a fine job in that Padres game. Came into a tough situation, got out of the jam, and made us believe that the guy we watched last year was back. He's currently more worrisome than unequivocally disastrous, unlike ...
6. Josh Osich (Last month: 2)
Osich, as opposed to the mixed bag of the other two guys, has been downright bad in May, especially since the Giants came home from that 7-0 road trip. For the month, his ERA is at 6.75; since the trip, it's at 16.88, and he's earned every last bit of it. There is absolutely no confidence in any Giants fan when he shows up in a game; at this point, we're basically telling ourselves that, hey, at least he's not ...
7. Javier Lopez (Last month: 7)
In the month of May, Javier Lopez has recorded nine outs and allowed seven men to reach base. If I may make a humble suggestion: stop doing that.
8. Chris Stratton (Last month: NR)
Yeah, he had a great inning yesterday, but he also had an ERA of 6 in AAA. Don't Trust Guys With An ERA Of 6 In AAA would be my motto, if I needed to have a motto to remember that. Also, Stratton's the one who will almost certainly be sent down when Romo finishes his injury rehab, so I'm not too worried about his ranking. Prove me wrong, Chris! Prove me wrong, entire bullpen.