Boston Red Sox Trade Rumors: Bullpen Help Needed, Giants Have the Answer with Javier Lopez

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Jul 12, 2013 11:22 AM EDT
MLB Trade Rumors Javier Lopez to Boston Red Sox?
San Francisco Giants pitcher Javier Lopez releases the ball during his MLB National League baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in San Francisco, California, April 8, 2011. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach "

It is clear that the Boston Red Sox have one of the worst bullpens in baseball. However, they've managed to remain in first place in a tight A.L. East division. As the trade deadline approaches, the Red Sox will be looking to boost their bullpen and the San Francisco Giants might have the answer in Javier Lopez. 

Lopez is a side-winding lefty who has had ultimate success late in recent years. He's been a big reason why the Giants have won two World Series in the past two years and this season, though the team is struggling, Lopez is still doing his part preventing opponents from scoring runs.

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So far in 2013, Lopez is 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA, in 38 games. He's pitched 22 innings, striking out 24 batters while posting a 1.18 WHIP. Lopez is a specialty pitcher who neutralizes left-handed hitting. Giants manager Bruce Bochy tries to bring Lopez strictly to face lefties. So far in the season, Lopez has faced 95 batters, 60 of which have been lefties and they're hitting a miniscule .167. In retrospect, when Bochy takes the chance and allows Lopez to face righties, they are hitting .296 with a .394 on-base percentage. Clearly, Lopez should not be in to face righties.

Lopez could help the Red Sox when facing the New York Yankees' Robinson Cano, the Baltimore Orioles' Chris Davis or the Tamba Bay Rays' James Loney late in games. So far this season, Lopez has made only two appearances before. 32 of his 38 appearances have come in the eighth and ninth inning, surrendering only two earned runs when pitching after the eighth. 

The Red Sox bullpen's 4.19 ERA is the sixth worst in baseball. They have had 14 blown slaves this season as they have had trouble finding a closer this season. However, they have the fourth most strikeouts. They throw strikes, but apparently leave the ball over the plate too often as opponents are hitting .257 off Red Sox relievers, which is seventh worst in the majors. 

Lopez can help bring that batting average down, while boosting the strikeouts as his K/9 Ratio is sitting at 9.8. Lopez was a Red Sox from 2006-2010, but he strugglined in '10 posting a 9.26 ERA in 14 appearances with Boston. He was then shipped to the Pittsburgh Pirates before landing in San Francisco where he went on to win his first of two World Series with the Giants. 

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