The Giants made another hefty commitment to a left-handed reliever on Sunday, re-signing Javier Lopez to a two-year, $8.5 million contract, the Associated Press reports.
It’s a big payday for Lopez, who is getting his first ever multiyear contract at age 34. He earned $2.35 million while amassing a 2.72 ERA and 20 holds in 53 innings last season.
The Giants stepped up with the big offer to Lopez even though they’re still in limbo with Jeremy Affeldt. It’s believed they’d prefer to re-sign Affeldt to another two-year deal instead of picking up his $5 million option for 2012.
Lopez pitched for five teams before joining the Giants in a trade with the Pirates during the summer of 2010. He held left-handers to a .163 average last season and didn’t give up a homer to any of the 222 batters he faced.
Lopez and Affeldt probably rated as the top two lefty relievers on the market this winter, with Darren Oliver and Mike Gonzalez next in line.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.