Giants Look Internally to Solve Closer Role

The Noah Lowry Era began Tuesday night in dramatic fashion as the rookie pitched a complete game shutout to notch his first major league win. However, it came more of a surprise to everyone involved that Lowry took the place of Dustin Hermanson, who has been named the Giants closer.

Hermanson has kept the Giants in ballgames by pitching countless quality starts, but has not been fortunate enough to get a decision in many of them. In no way, shape, or form is this a demotion for the usually steady starting pitcher.

"Yeah, they keep telling me it's not a demotion, that they feel I can get the job done," said Hermanson. "I thought I pitched well in the starting role. It came as a surprise to me because I felt I was doing a pretty good job."

Giants Manager Felipe Alou previously had "mild thoughts" about this decision since he coached Hermanson during their days with the Expos. Alou is well aware that the pitcher started off as a closer.

In three seasons in the Padres minor league system, Hermanson converted 43 saves, including 21 in his last season at Triple-A.

"He'll do anything for the team," Alou said of Hermanson. "I remember that I told him he would no longer be a closer but a starter after he was traded to Montreal."

Hermanson has indeed done "anything" for the team, but intimated that he would prefer closing if he will be sent to the bullpen.

"I'm the closer now," Hermanson said emphatically. "If I'm going to be in the bullpen, I want to close. I want to be a closer or a starter plain and simple.

The way things are going for the bullpen, it's basically Dustin's job to lose. Ex-closer Matt Herges, who has seven blown saves in 30 save opportunities, handed the keys over without much of a fight.

"I can't worry about things not in my control," said Herges. "The only thing I can control is how I pitch and that's what I'm worried about now, doing what I can to help this team win. It's not about me and my role. This is about getting back on track and winning this division."

To help win the National League West division, Hermanson must adapt to his new role and get comfortable with it quickly.

"It's a different style of pitching, but I won't put too much pressure on myself," Hermanson said. "I'll throw the book at 'em."

With his vast repertoire of pitches, he probably will. Hermanson owns a wide variety of pitches that he can work with to keep hitters off balance. He throws a low-90s fastball and can either cut or sink it. He also features a hard slider and changeup to keep batters guessing.

Dustin has recently experimented with a split-fingered fastball and has had relative success with it. He also tends to be successful early on, limiting batters to a .295 on-base percentage in the first three innings of work.

If his ability to pitch well early in the game is any indication that he will succeed as a closer, the Giants will be pleased they made the switch, especially since they also found a new starting pitcher in Noah Lowry. Two birds. One stone.



Phil Delacruz was a transplanted Giants fan, buried in the Southland. After four strenuous years in College, studying (read: partying), he's back in the beautiful "City by the Bay" – San Francisco. Do you think he should move back to LALA land? Or do you like him where he is now and appreciate the good reads? Either way, send him an e-mail at phildelacruz@aol.com to air out your frustrations or, more likely, songs of praise.

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