The Giants are absolutely reeling right now. And not in the "we can't figure anything out to get our team going" kind of way. It's the "almost worst because we keep coughing up games we should win easily" kind of way that's created this four-game losing streak.
Last night's extra-innings, 8-7 loss to the Mets, featuring a bullpen meltdown (again), is a perfect example. The team put up some runs -- but stranded plenty of opportunities early before scoring later -- and the bullpen was, well, the kind of bullpen you'd expect to be in need of of some help.
“The pen struggled tonight,” Bruce Bochy said. “We had the right guys up there, our setup guy and closer, and they scored off of them. The only thing you can do in this game is get your guys out there, and we did that.”
So the Giants have a few hours to fix this problem. There are relievers on the market. And Bochy said Brian Sabean is "looking at everything."
“Believe me, he’s looking at everything,” Bochy said. “He’s talked to just about every club, not just about hitters but about (bullpen arms), too.”
Here's the problem, though: the Giants weren't the only ones who saw all the problems in the bullpen on the eve of the trading deadline. (Even Sergio Romo got shellacked.) Every team saw that meltdown, and you can bet that teams with relievers available in deals -- like the Royals and Indians -- were watching especially close.
And the price for someone like Jonathan Broxton or Chris Perez went up a little bit with every earned run the bullpen gave up.
That's not the nature of baseball so much as it is the nature of business. The Giants are in a position of need, even though they're not totally panicking yet. After all, they're tied for first in their division, primarily thanks to the Dodgers being forced to throw Aaron Harang out on the mound. They're still a better team than the Dodgers despite being swept and despite the Dodgers making upgrades at the deadline.
But they have flaws. Those flaws include a lack of offense as strong a bullpen as they're used to. Which is why they almost have to upgrade. Now that they're stumbling into the trade deadline, it's probably only going to become more expensive to do so.