The Javier Lopez – Brian Wilson win total challenge

The Giants very strange defense of their World Series title continued yesterday in San Diego. Once again a starting pitcher (this time Matt Cain) pitched well.

Once again the starting pitcher got a no decision and it went into extra innings.

Once again a reliever got the win.
I am convinced that Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Jonathan Sanchez will continue to put up wonderful numbers… except in the win column.

The Giants are going to win the West. Right now they are tied for the Phillies for the biggest lead in any Division. And the Giants rotation is the only one in baseball that can match up with the Phillies.

But I would LOVE to see the Giants finish the year with their aces winning 12-13 games, thus creating the illusion to those who just glance at the win-loss record that San Francisco’s rotation is inferior.

Right now Brian Wilson has 6 wins, just 2 fewer than Cain and Lincecum.
Javier Lopez has 5 wins (including yesterday) and that is one behind Vogelsong.

I want Wilson and Lopez to each get to double digit wins. Preferably more than their All Star pitchers.

Imagine at the end of the year hearing “Brian Wilson led the team with 13 wins and Javier Lopez was second with 12. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain had 11 wins. Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner each had 10.”

Then you get to smoke out which commentators are lazy and say “A down year for the Giants starters” etc.

Think that is crazy?
Have you been WATCHING the Giants?
Have you been noticed how many times the announcers say “A great start for [INSERT GIANTS STARTER HERE] but no run support”?
Have you seen how many games end with a mob at home plate after a walk off win?

Have 6 more walk offs go as wins for Brian Wilson… bam! There’s 12 wins right there.
5 extra inning wins go to Lopez… and that’s 10 for Lopez.

And that’s 11 decisions NOT going to the rotation.
Throw in a fluke win here and a vulture win there and they could get up to 12-13 wins.

All that matters to a Giants fan is to pile up wins, no matter how odd they come about.
The Giants have played 15 extra inning games and 38 one run games.

So pile up the wins, Javier and Brian.
Lead the team… and make the other teams feel complacent

It’s a hell of a way to defend a title.

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I won’t boo ANY member of the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox… not even these guys

When I wrote about how I would give Manny Ramirez an ovation if I were at Fenway (and I do cheer for Manny when I go the six miles from my house to Dodger Stadium) I got some people asking me privately (and someone asked on the site) would I also cheer for Johnny Damon.

Of course.
Both Manny and Johnny were big parts of the 2004 team that all of us Red Sox fans waited our whole lives for. And the make up of the 2004 team was NOT a bunch of home grown Red Sox who all played together in Pawtucket. The 1975, 1978 and 1986 Red Sox teams were primarily home grown.

With the exception of Youk, Nixon, Varitek and Lowe, none of them spent their rookie years with the Red Sox. And even Varitek and Lowe were actually originally drafted by Seattle.

Most of the 2004 squad were picked up from other teams and assembled like a baseball answer to The Dirty Dozen, slapped together for a crazy mission to reverse the curse.

So it is disingenuous to get mad when a mercenary leaves for more money. Pedro, Damon, Manny, Foulke, Schilling et al came to the Red Sox via free agency or forced trades to make dough.

When Pedro signed with the Mets, Damon signed with the Yankees and Manny forced the deal to LA, they were doing to us what they did to the Expos, A’s and Indians before coming to Fenway.

I just say “thank you” and have them on their way.
And I have my policy… if you were on the Red Sox playoff rosters for 2004 or 2007 then I can not boo you.

But there are a few guys who test that theory… and it isn’t Manny nor Damon.

There are 4 guys who at first make me want to boo… then I have to stop and say “But they helped the Sox win a ring” and reluctantly say “Oh alright. I won’t boo.”

They are…

RAMIRO MENDOZA, Relief Pitcher. 2004

He always felt like a Yankee mole, didn’t he? I still remember him being on the mound in 1999, clinching the ALCS. (No offense to El Duque, but Mendoza should have been the MVP of the 1999 ALCS.)

He was a big pile of “eh” in his 2 seasons in Boston, compiling a combined 5.73 over 2003 and 2004. And he was the last Red Sox pitcher to record a loss in 2004, getting the decision in the 19-8 Game 3 Fiasco… against the Yankees. It was the last game he pitched in a Red Sox uniform and the Sox went 8-0 the rest of the way. I admit it looked odd seeing his celebrate with the other Red Sox at Yankee Stadium after Game 7. When he received his ring the next season, he was a member of the Yankees again.

I never trusted him. But I can’t boo him.

ERIC GAGNE, Relief Pitcher. 2007

He was supposed to be the pick up that solidified the bullpen and made the World Series a lock. Instead he became the 800 pound gorilla reliever and the very symbol of how badly someone could suck when they get off the juice.

By the time the playoffs came about, he was banished to mop up duty. The only time he pitched in a close game, it was Game 2 of the 2007 ALCS which he of course lost.

The only two positive things about Gagne’s Red Sox stay were his closing out the Division Series (in a mercy move by Tito) and this song inspired by his time in Boston.

He has a ring and Yaz doesn’t? It’s sick. But I can’t boo him.

JAVIER LOPEZ, Relief Pitcher. 2007

I watched a lot of Red Sox games in 2007. And I watched a lot of games where Javier Lopez came into the game. And I honestly have no recollection of him recording an out.

I’m not being snarky. I am sure he MUST have got a batter out. But I don’t remember it. It seemed like all of his appearances were listed in the Box Score as 0 IP, faced 2 batters.

When he came into the game, you just KNEW that Tito was going to relieve him before the inning was over. You KNEW that the rally was going to continue.

He was tough to root for… and I bid him farewell last year. As poorly as he pitched, I can’t boo him.

JULIO LUGO, Shortstop. 2007

Oh boy this is the ultimate litmus test. This guy was TOUGH to root for. Not only was he obscenely overpaid ($36 million for a guy who lost his starting job with the Dodgers) but was BRUTAL in the field and had an 0-33 stretch at the plate.

Someday we’ll learn what Orlando Cabrera did to tick off the Red Sox front office. But until then, Sox fans will all be scratching our collective heads wondering why he couldn’t stay instead of shelling out tons of money for Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo.

But he won a ring with the Sox (and made a few nice plays in the World Series.) Swallow hard… I can’t boo him.

And folks, if I refrain from booing those guys, then I think I can find it in myself to cheer some of the heroes of the ’04 and ’07 titles.

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A JAVIER LOPEZ SIGHTING!!!!

Former Sully Baseball whipping boy Javier Lopez still has a job as a major league pitcher!

I saw it! I have proof! He pitched in today’s Pirates-Dodgers game where he mopped up in the rain.

Well I say GOOD FOR HIM!

He was a member of the 2007 World Champion Red Sox… and I gave him a proper send off.

But he is proof that if you can throw a ball 60 feet and 6 inches with your left arm, you will NEVER have trouble finding a job in the bigs!

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