LOS ANGELES -- Javier Lopez's pitching thus far proves why Spring Training performances sometimes must be downplayed or even ignored, especially when a veteran's involved.
Lopez has demonstrated the form that prompted the Giants to give him a three-year, $13 million contract extension last November. He was unscored upon in four appearances entering Sunday night's series finale against the Dodgers.
Lopez showed no hints of this effectiveness during spring exhibitions. He recorded a 9.00 ERA in nine outings, surrendered 10 hits in seven innings, and walked twice as many hitters (four) as he struck out (two). He even yielded two home runs, matching the regular-season total he has allowed since joining the Giants at the 2009 Trade Deadline.
Lopez pointed out that Spring Training games don't always put him in the situations he encounters as a left-handed specialist in the regular season. In exhibitions, he frequently starts an inning and faces right-handed hitters; when it counts, he tends to enter games in the middle of an inning, and almost exclusively matches up against left-handed batters.
Moreover, regular-season pressure often helps Lopez concentrate.
"I'm used to coming into 'traffic' in different situations," Lopez said, referring to men on base. "That's what helps me kind of lock in."
Pitching more frequently in the regular season than he does in March also sharpens his skills.
"For me, I need to find my rhythm because of the way I throw, and it's nice to have that opportunity during the season," Lopez said.
Bochy playing it safe with Morse's playing time
LOS ANGELES -- Giants left fielder Michael Morse played all nine innings in Sunday night's 6-2 loss to the Dodgers. That may not sound like news, but it was something of a novelty, since Morse previously did not play a full game despite starting five of San Francisco's prior six contests.
Earlier Sunday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated that he'll continue to search for the most opportune time each day to remove Morse from games and keep him healthy.
Bochy remains concerned about Morse's right calf, which limited him to 15 exhibition appearances after he injured it early in Spring Training.
"That's played a big part of why I've taken him out early," Bochy said.
Morse typically has relinquished his spot to Gregor Blanco or Juan Perez in the middle to late innings. Sunday was an exception.
"That's just me being cautious," said Bochy, who must balance the importance of sending Morse to the plate with the need to keep him fit for the long haul. "The more I get him out of there, the better things are going to be."
Bumgarner's 50th win comes pretty quickly
LOS ANGELES -- Madison Bumgarner became the fourth-youngest pitcher in Giants franchise history to reach the 50-win plateau, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Bumgarner reached the milestone Saturday by striking out 10 in 6 1/3 innings and earning the decision in the Giants' 7-2 triumph over the Dodgers. He was 24 years and 247 days old.
That's wasn't quite as young as Mike McCormick was (22 years, 303 days) in 1961 when he became the quickest Giant to record 50 victories. Others between McCormick and Bumgarner were Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson (22 years, 331 days in 1903), Doc Crandall (23 years, 363 days in 1912) and Hal Schumacher (24 years, 156 days in 1935).