On October 30th, 2010 Jeremy Affeldt retired 4 of the 5 Rangers he faced in Game 3 of the World Series. On the same date in 2011 the San Francisco Giants picked up a $5 million option to keep the left hander through the end of 2012. Today, Jeremy Affeldt went on the disabled list with a right knee sprain. They have called up 29-year-old lefty Travis Blackley from Fresno, who will make his season debut in his first appearance.
With the loss of Brian Wilson, every member of the bullpen was bumped up a level. Each guy would pitch a little later in the game, face a few more high leverage situations. With Affeldt’s departure, the amount and intensity of the workload for each bullpen stalwart will further increase. There will be added pressure on Javier Lopez to get lefties out, and guys like Mota, Hensley, and Romo will be called on to face more left-handed hitters in high-leverage situations.
Other than a rough 6-hit outing in Martin Scorsese’s The Colorado Affair and a pair of poorly-timed wild pitches, Jeremy Affeldt has been a solid option in the 7th and 8th innings. His 4.06 ERA is not indicative of how he has pitched- Affeldt is striking out almost a batter per inning and has 2.5 to 1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The bullpen is better with Affeldt’s paralyzing curveball and sensual soul patch, and Giants fans should hope for a speedy return.
To fill the void in left-handedness, the Giants couldn’t go with the Usual Suspects- Otero, Edlefsen, Hembree- instead choosing to call up the 6’3”, 190-lb. Blackley. The Australian has had success in Fresno this season, allowing just 16 baserunners in 23.1 innings with a Zitonian ERA of 0.39. But at 29 he is far from a prospect, and this call-up is simply a bridge to Affledt’s return.
The Giants open a three-game series with the Miami Marlins tonight, where Matt Cain (1-1, 2.37) will square off against Ricky Nolasco (2-0, 3.20). Game time is 7:15 PST.
Update: Henry Schulman reports that Bochy expects Affeldt to be out 7-10 days, with a brief rehab assignment.