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Best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s: 12. Javier Lopez

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 6: Relief pitcher Javier Lopez #49 of the San Francisco Giants delivers to home plate during the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 6, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Giants defeated the Rockies 3-2. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 6: Relief pitcher Javier Lopez #49 of the San Francisco Giants delivers to home plate during the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 6, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Giants defeated the Rockies 3-2. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Part of the San Francisco Giants “Core Four” bullpen contingent, lefty specialist Javier Lopez was virtually untouchable against fellow southpaws.

The San Francisco Giants acquired Javier Lopez from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for John Bowker and Joe Martinez at the 2010 MLB trade deadline.

Originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth round of the 1998 draft, Lopez was well-traveled by the time he joined the Giants, having also spent time with the Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates.

The 32-year-old had a 2.79 ERA in 50 appearances at the time of his trade to San Francisco, and he made an immediate impact, logging a 1.42 ERA and 0.68 WHIP in 27 games post-trade.

That was only the beginning.

He wound up spending six more seasons with the Giants, posting a 2.56 ERA and 1.23 WHIP while averaging 70 appearances per year.

It’s his work against left-handed hitters that made him such a lethal addition to a lights out relief corps. Below are his year-by-year numbers against lefty batters:

  • 2010: 47 PA, .111 BAA, 0 XBH (0 HR), 12 K
  • 2011: 104 PA, .163 BAA, 1 XBH (0 HR), 25 K
  • 2012: 97 PA, .191 BAA, 7 XBH (1 HR), 22 K
  • 2013: 98 PA, .156 BAA, 6 XBH (0 HR), 29 K
  • 2014: 102 PA, .194 BAA, 7 XBH (1 HR), 18 K
  • 2015: 96 PA, .112 BAA, 3 XBH (0 HR), 20 K
  • 2016: 90 PA, .208 BAA, 4 XBH (2 HR), 10 K

Even into his age-38 season in 2016, he was still extremely effective in a specialist role, and that ability to get big outs also served him well in October.

A member of all three World Series title teams, Lopez faced 44 total batters during the 2010, 2012 and 2014 postseasons. He allowed just five hits and one earned run with four walks and 14 strikeouts, good for a 0.73 ERA and 0.73 WHIP, tallying one win and nine holds along the way.

His brilliant October work and impressive consistency in a specialized role was enough to earn him the No. 12 spot on our 50 best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s list.

Next. 13. Jeremy Affeldt

Check back here regularly as we count down the 50 best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s.

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