Bright Spots In A Long, Long Season


The San Francisco Giants have not had the greatest season for a defending champion. Yes there were moments that brought us all great joy as fans. We had the Angel Pagan game winning inside the park home run. Wow, that’s a long description for one play.

There was Tim Lincecum‘s no hitter on a July evening in San Diego, and back to back walk off wins against the Dodgers early in May. Brandon Belt has come along as a player, and Hunter Pence shows us his hustle every day.

But what about those guys that just come in and do their job day in and day out? The players that have been excelling this season despite the team not having the greatest record? Who are those guys?

Well I looked over the season that has been and found 3 players that have been bright spots for the 2013 San Francisco Giants. Before the Giants expand the roster and roles change, I wanted to recognize those that just keep doing work no matter what the circumstance.

photo by Denise Walos

Javier Lopez

Leading the team with 56 appearances on the season, Javier Lopez has been a dominant force out of the bullpen all season. He hasn’t allowe the opponent to score in 50 of those games. The left handed specialist has done his job and kept LH batters to a measly .164 batting average against him this season.

Lopez likes to strand runners on the bases as well. So far in 2013 he has inherited a total of 50 baserunners, second most in the NL. Only 5 of those runners have scored with Javi in the game. That’s only 10% of inherited runners scored, the best mark in the entire National League. He also averages 8.4 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched, bet on the team.

Lopez has a WHIP of 1.125. That would the best of his career. He sports an ERA of 1.97 and has only walked 11 of the 135 batters he has faced this season. Amazingly enough, Lopez hasn’t allowed a HR all season. In fact he has only allowed one HR since he joined the Giants at the end of July in 2010. The best in baseball during that time. He is the quintessential lefty specialst out of the bullpen. Bruce Bochy doesn’t have to worry when he hands him the ball.

photo by Densie Walos

Joaquin Arias

Look, the stats aren’t going to jump off the page when we are talking about Joaquin Arias. That’s not where his value is totally seen. He is the backup infielder, and a role player for Bochy’s team. Arias has started at every single infield position this season. There isn’t anyone else on the team that can claim that.

When Pablo Sandoval went down, Arias was the one that filled in at 3rd base. He’s given both Marco Scutaro and Brandon Crawford time off for various aches and ailments. If a defensive replacement is needed late in the game, he’s the guy the Giants turn to. It’s not flashy, but he gets the job done.

Now and again he will sneak a home run out of the park. He’s been in the middle of a few rallys this season by getting on base and scoring. He’s hitting .275 on the season in a backup role. Joaquin Arias has been to most productive, and valuable, bench player for the 2013 San Francisco Giants.

photo by Denise Walos
Sergio Romo

The diminutive right hander with a big time slider, Sergio Romo has shut down games for the Giants all season long. Entering this season he was handed the closer’s role for the first time in his career to start a new season. He hasn’t disappointed. When El Mechon plays over the speakers, he usually comes through.

Sergio has appeared in 53 games this season for the Giants. He has converted 32 of his 36 save opportunities and that ranks in the top ten in all of baseball. If he converst 5 more he will mobe in to the top ten single season leaders in saves on the Giants all time list. Over his 48.1 innings pitched, Sergio has only allowed a total of 39 hits and 8 walks for a WHIP of .972.

Romo was named to his first All Star team by manager Bruce Bochy ealier this year. His 32 saves are 5th in the National League. Since taking over the closer role late in 2012 he is 41 for 45 in save chances. Right handed batters are only hitting .175 (18 for 103) against him this season. That beard, that slider, have all but assured a Giants victory when entering a game. There may even be more to come in the future.