Pinch Blogging: Javier Lopez

With Belt on the DL, we’re taking turns filling in, so here I am. I’m not a social media guy. I don’t do Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever else is out there. But I thought it might be interesting to tell you a little about the bullpen.

Relievers are kind of a family within a family. Like our own band of brothers. We know we’ll be facing some pretty stressful situations later in the game, so in the early innings we keep things really loose and light-hearted. We’ll bring up some topic — maybe current events, something that happened the night before, something in the game at the moment — and we get the banter going.

Let’s say Santiago Casilla made a nice play on a come-backer the night before. He’s normally not a great fielder, so we start making fun of him for that. And he gets playfully defensive about it.

You can imagine the field day we had with Machi after his bunt in Pittsburgh. We all know he’s a good athlete even if he doesn’t look it, but we kidded him about not knowing how to hold the bat and about chugging down the baseline to first. Casilla promptly said he was faster than Machi, and Machi countered that not only was he faster than Casilla, he was the fastest in the bullpen.

I chime in and say I can take either of them. So someone says, “OK, we’ll have a footrace.’’

You’ll be relieved to know cooler heads prevailed. One of us would have gotten hurt, no question. (This is where I could take a cheap shot at Affeldt, but you’re already thinking it so I don’t have to.)

In any event, Machi was upset he didn’t get a hit on the bunt.

“A hit?’’ we said. “The ball beat you to the bag! How is that a hit?’’

You get the idea.

This is a different bullpen than I’ve been a part of. It’s very international with a lot of Venezuelans. There are no cliques. That’s one of the things that makes it pretty special. We spend some time learning English, some time learning Spanish. Casilla is one of my favorites because he genuinely tries to learn English. He’s always learning a couple of new phrases, and he has a few he goes to all the time.

The Venezuelan guys tell a lot of stories about the winter league down there. Machi told me Panda doesn’t talk in the Venezuelan league. He is not vocal at all, contrary to the singing, laughing character we see (and hear) in our locker room. Machi said it’s because there’s a pretty strict hierarchy down there, and Panda’s still considered a young guy. I found this hard to believe, but Gutierrez and Petit said it was true.

It’s kind of the reverse for Machi here: He doesn’t have a lot of time in the big leagues, so he doesn’t talk a lot. He’s talkative around us, but if you were to walk into the locker room he’s a pretty quiet guy.

Another thing I didn’t know that I learned in the bullpen: Even though Machi has been a closer in Venezuela for four years, he didn’t have a save in the big leagues. I had just assumed last year he must have gotten one with us at some point. (Shows you how much I really remember about our games.) He already had five wins but he really, really wanted a save in the big leagues. And he got one during the last road trip in LA. To see him do it, knowing how much it meant to him, was pretty neat.

So all this talking among the relievers is great, but what if there is no bullpen, like here at AT&T Park? The joking and laughing don’t go over real well in the dugout. We have to be kind of careful. At the start of the game, we park ourselves at the far left of the dugout, up by the rail. The coaches are at the opposite end, and the position players are usually on the bench against the wall.

At some point, we usually make our way to a small room at the bottom of the stairs (behind the dugout), where we can watch the game on TV and not bother anyone.

I don’t want you to think we don’t talk about baseball. We talk about situations that might have come up the previous night, and maybe there’s a similar situation today and Bochy has decided to go with a different pitcher. We’ll talk about different strategies and ask each other what we’d do against this hitter or that one. It’s always good to have Plan A but sometimes you need Plan B, C and D. So it’s nice to bounce stuff off each other.

The best thing about our bullpen is that we realize we’re in this together, and we have each other’s backs.

Thanks for reading. Now when you see a shot of us on TV in the early innings, you know we’re enjoying each other’s company and keeping things loose. Until the bullpen phone rings and everything changes.


I miss Brandon Belt, please tell him we are sending him hugs and LOTS of get well soon wishes. Thanks Javier for your superb blog and filling in for BB.

Thanks for a look into the Bullpen!

Affeldt’s the sort of guy who runs with scissors.

Thanks for writing javey!! Love seeing u on the mound and in the blog!! Go Giants!!!!

Great post, Javier!!! Fun and informative. You guys are all the BEST!!! GO GIANTS!!

Great pinch-blogging, Javier. Thanks for sharing. That’s what i love about our team, the camaraderie. It’s why we win.

Great blog……..I love the behind the scenes info. We only know what we see on the screen. God bless the bullpen!!!🙂 Have fun guys. Tell Brandon we are praying for a speedy recovery!!!

Thanks Javi! Great post! My husband and I are East coast Giants fans and when we travel to see y’all on the road (like at the Nats) we always buy seats near or above the bullpen. I love hearing the chit chat and seeing the interaction between players. Not knowing the players personally…we make up all kinds of stories and theories on you guys! =) Thanks for posting!

I love it! Thanks for sharing what you guys are laughing about!! I am still amazed that you Giants really are the family that you seem to be. That’s why I am a HUGE fan!! Come back anytime Javier.

So fun to hear from you Javi!!! Go Giants!!

Good post Javier! You know us fans love hearing the inside scoop on all of you. Thanks for sharing.

Really fun post, and thank you for stepping in. It’s nice to hear that you guys are so friendly in the bull pen. I imagine the clubhouse would be way more noisy with all the different characters on your great team. Good start to the season!

I lol’ed at the Affeldt comment. You’re right – it’s exactly what I was thinking. Thanks for the great post – tell Belt we’re thinking of him and miss him lots already!


It’s stuff like that makes me love the Giants…

❤️ The Giants bullpen is my favorite! You guys are great! Love to hear you’re a family within a family! Keep it up! Javi you’re great! My husband and I are going to follow you guys when you travel to Chicago and Washington DC! Can’t wait! Should be a good road trip!

Thanks for the great post! It’s great to get some bullpen insight…I always did wonder what you all talked about. Affeldt really is the punching bag, isn’t he? Good thing he’s got a sense of humor🙂 I’m going to show this to my 10-year-old son…He’s doing little league for the first time and really loves pitching, so I think he’ll love really this.

Woaaaaaaah that is so neat! All this insight and we wouldah nevahhh known!! Gotta love a good pinch blog, especially from the all intelligent FBI agent

Thanks for sharing! It’s always good to hear how things are from different players perspective. As a fan, you always wonder what’s really happening in the dugout or the bull pen. It’s good to know you guys have some fun.

Thanks for pinch blogging Javi, very interesting. Love reading about Machi and Casilla since we hardly hear much about them. Have a great season man!

Thanks for the insights into the bullpen hijinks. It’s so much easier to handle the pressure if you are prepared and relaxed. Humor is the best relaxer I know. You guys are pros and real Giant fans love the bullpen. You guys are the best!

Fascinating stuff about the pen and how you all cope. We need a bullpen blog and you could all take turns!

OMG, we really need the Lopez-Casilla-Machi footrace!

Thank you for filling in, Javier. It was very interesting to read your blog. Good to know you all get along so well and enjoy each other’s company. I think it would be very hard to be a reliever.

Bravo. Nice job. Don’t stop at one.

Thank you for filling in for Brandon. When all of you are lined up along the rail with your black hoodies I always thing of red wing black birds on a telephone wire.

Just watched you close out the game against the Braves! Great job! Glad to see all is okay. Loved hearing about the bullpen subculture. But you didn’t mention Romo! What is he doing? Thanks for the pinch blog! Now can you get Buster to do one. I can only imagine what he would say – “That was a good game. I was the catcher.”

Wow. What a great blog post. Incredibly well written – and I love reading more about what goes on behind the scenes. Gives a much more personal, and fun, perspective on the game. Especially with respect to the bull pen which plays such an important part of the game, but doesn’t really get mentioned until the later innings.

Javie!!!!! Good to hear from you, Bro. Glad you were able to relieve Belt ( no pun intended)! 😉Me and my 17 yr old always get a kick out of anyone caught having fun in the BP or Dugout. We laugh as if we are in on the fun! We noticed how nervous Machi was in LA. That was funny! Hope we hear from you, again! Go, Giants!

Thanks for sharing Javier! Very thoughtful blog post, appreciate the insights into life in the bullpen.

Mr. Lopez, this is an amazing pinch hit blog post! You players should always share in posting. It is neat to get all the different view points. It is very intetesting to find out what goes on behind the scenes. Knowing that you guys have genuine fun together makes watching even better! Tell B. Belt to get back. ..miss watching him play!

Thank You Javier, it’s great hearing from you. Good column and this answers some of curiosity as what the players are like. We know you on the field and seeing the other side is great. GO GIANTS!

its so neat to look into life of the players. thanks for sharing!

Great blog Javier not bad for a guy that’s not a social media guy :-)… Thank you for giving us an inside into the bullpen. Us bilingual fans would love to have one of the guys step up and do a blog in Spanish I could translate if they want. Keep up the good work…. Love you guys… Go Giants

Is it true, you’re going to get a shot at firstbase too?

Don’t get on Twitter…you’ll have every girl begging you for follows!! LOL

This was great!!! I want more Javi!!! Blog again soon!

Thanks for the insight into the pen! Wa-Hoo.

Hi Javier,
Thank you for agreeing to fill in; this is our only chance to talk with you.😊 I’m sooo glad you’re back in SF – thank you for helping bring 2 WS titles to a very hungry & loyal fan base!❤️⚾️ I watched the 2012 parade with my 26 3rd grade students – an unforgettable day for all of us!!

Great post Javy! Love hearing the insider stuff. You guys all seem like a fun bunch. The thing you said about Affeldt made me laugh. I remember when I went to fanfest in 2012, I got Affeldts auto and I made him chuckle a little when I told him to never handle frozen patties again. He was probably just being nice but I had fun. Thanks again for the fun post and good luck on the rest of the season!

Thanks for the pinch blog, Javier; it was fun hearing what goes on between the relief pitchers.

Funny, you don’t sound like FBI, but that really means nothing, I guess!

You guys are all AWESOME! Thanks for sharing!

Great email. Thank you very much!

Please write more, that was a really informative and fun post about what the bullpen actually does during the game – what do they talk about? where do they hang out? do they like each other? Thanks for filling in for BB while he recovers!

Thanks for the pinch-blog, Javier! It’s always fun to hear from different guys, and it really does sound like you have fun in the bullpen. And with the best bullpen ERA in the majors, I would say you’re allowed to joke around at least a little. (I tried to look up whether or not that’s still true because the announcers haven’t mentioned it in a while, but google failed me. Anyway, I’m just going with it because SF did have the best one for a while – and you guys are awesome!) Thanks for always playing so hard. Also, I think you have the toughest job on the team, since you don’t always pitch regularly but there’s always a ton of pressure on you when you do.

Go Giants!

Javier, I’ll just add my thank you for giving us a glimpse into the bullpen, it’s hierarchy, the funny stories, etc. Might we have a second helping, kind sir?
Respectfully, Deborah (Coffee Can)

Love this blog! Real insight to our pitchers!


Thanks Mr. Lopez, yours is a perspective that I have heard very little about. Would you rather have a bullpen at AT&T? All of the pitchers for the Giants are true professionals because the starters almost never miss a start and the relief pitchers almost always come in and put out the fire, and then hold the other team down. This must be a testament to the overall way you guys go about your business on and off the field. Thanks again for giving us a peek into the spectacularly consistent bullpen. Go Giants!!

Fascinating info about our international bullpen. I always wonder why our local press doesn’t do more interviews with guys like Casilla, who has been such an integral part of the Giant’s success. It can’t be that hard to get a translator, right? How about a new blog: “Bullpenned In.” Then we can hear from everyone, and Affeldt can defend himself. 🙂

Love the blog! Very informative of the bullpen. Hope to read from you again!

Great blog post! Thanks, Javier, and please consider doing a blog of your own. You guys ROCK!

Javier! This was so interesting and informative to read! What a treat! Hope that you consider sharing some more tidbits in the future! Fans are always curious about the inner workings of the game, so thanks for sharing.

Great blog! You’re very articulate and this was very well written. I love how you players connect w the fans. Much appreciated!

Loved reading about the goings on in the bullpen. Most of the time we never get the backstory from the relievers. Everyone talks about the 9 guys on the field. Thank you Javi for pinch blogging. I guess it would be kind of difficult for Brandon to type with a broken thumb! Get healed soon BBelt!!

Thank you Javier for sharing. It is so nice to hear behind the scenes of the bullpen. And I love that the Giants are a TEAM, not just a Brandon/Brandon blog. Everyone takes care of each other in a time of need. Great finish to the game today!!!

This was really cool to read. I love the insight on the bullpen. Now are you in the comment race too?

Hello Javier Lopez, I truely enjoyed you story. Just knowing that the bullpen are loose and having fun gives me a good feeling. I also feel like the closer you are to each other the better chance of going all the waythis year! That would be way cool!! DON’T UNUNDERESTIMATE YOURSELF YOU HAVE A GREAT COMMAND OF THE ENGLISH LANGAGE!! I LOVE bASEBALL! EVER SINCE IWAS A LITTLE GIRL! UNFORTUNELY WE DIDN’T HAVE BOBBIE SOX ! DANG!! WAS BETTER THAN SOME OF MY BROTHERS DORKY FRIENDS ( LOL)!

Thanks for sharing that!

Howdy Javi, we met 3 years ago at Spring Training at the bbq at the end of the senior vacations week. My sis was the one that called you eye candy and made you blush. We’re a bunch of ole (not old) white haired ladies and we all love all of you. Thank you for sharing what goes on in the bullpen later in the game. What you’re all doing early in the game. Give us a better understanding of how it all works. Keep up the good work. We’re cheering you guys on. ❤

NIce post, Javy. Gives us all a closer look inside the bullpen.Very cool.

Great to hear the inside scoop, Javier! Thanks for blogging…love watching you pitch!

Javi, I really enjoyed reading your article and learning more about you and your fellow closers. It’s good to know how well you all get along and look out for each other. It’s truly a team effort. My family and I love to watch you pitch! Sending well-wishes to Brandon as well.

Thanks for the insight and good pitching job today!

Thanks for the bullpen perspective, Javi. Love hearing what goes on behind the scenes. That’s great that there aren’t any cliques on the team. I think that’s one of the things we love about you guys – you all seem to get along so well. Love watching your delivery – it’s so unique and so wicked! Keep up the great work. And from listening to your interviews, you could easily have a future career as a color guy for the Giants. Also – thanks for the autograph during Spring Training. You were so cordial and generous with your time for us (even when my brother asked if you were joining the FBI!) – I definitely appreciated that!

Great job filling in for Belt ,Javier , nice to get the different perspectives. Love the Bullpen and the rest of the team. Keep up the great work! Go Giants!

Great guest blog! Thank you for shedding some light on a topic we fans know so little about!

From one old Cavalier to a much younger,and more athletic one, WOW! That was a terrific blog you just wrote. It really brought us inside your team within a team; and gave us humorous, practical and insightful peeks into how you keep the magic going. Muchas gracias, mi Wahoo amigo!

Love the insights you just provided.

Thanks anti-social media guy. That was fun, so please do it again!


Great to hear from you! Really great stuff about Bullpen life. I love to read about this sort of thing. The bit about Aff was so funny because you knew what everyone would be thinking. People don’t want to believe that this team is a family but you guys are I think that that is wonderful. You have each other’s back and that is what makes you strong. I remember to last year’s trade deadline all three of you , Hunter, Timmy and you were genuinely happy to escaped a trade and would be remaining. I can’t think that happens everyday, Especially when you guys weren’t playing your best ball of the year and you still wanted to hang together. Wonderful. Love you guys!

My friend Celeste is on the money here.

Welcome Javier!!! Thanks for pinch-blogging! For a guy who doesn’t “do” social media, you did a fine job here on the blog! It’s always fun to hear another perspective on the game!🙂

Ok, nothing against Javy, but we do have ANOTHER BRANDON on the team who could ALSO pinch blog. Just sayin’.

Pingback: Pinch Running a blog: Javier Lopez | All About Sports

Great post ,Javier ! It’s really cool to get some insight on the relievers! You are definitely one of my favorite to watch of course I love all the Giants players though🙂. I hop belt is feeling better and tell craw congrats on that amazing splash hit today !🙂

Thank you for sharing this inside look at our bullpen…I love you guys…I love my Giants.

Hi Javier! Not only did you go a good job yesterday on the mound, you are a good writer. Looking forward to more posts, and of course, watching you pitch.

I’m glad you talked a bit about learning each others languages… I’ve always wondered about that, having studied Spanish and being a foreign language fanatic! You’re SO well-spoken, Javier!!!

since you are more than likely in the FBI, so more than likely in the know, who has to carry the pink backpack with candy in it for you guys this year ?

Thanks for the post Javier!🙂

Thanks for the post Javier!!! That was great!!! Very cool how you all get along so well! That is why I love the Giants so much…you can really see how much you are in it for each other! No attitudes!!! That is what sets the Giants apart from the other teams!!! I have never loved a team this much! YOU GUYS ARE SO AWESOME!!! Thanks for the post!

Nice to hear from you Javier. We met you prior to the last game of the 2012 season at Dodger stadium. You signed autographs for our kids, and were easily the friendliest major leaguer they had ever met. Thanks for being a Great Giant!

Love it that the bullpen gets along so well, too. Thanks for sharing!

A question for you, Javi:  do you ever get restless, since your playing time is so short? And thanks for the info about the bull pen.  Did a great “pinch” job!

Marilyn D. Diamond 


Marilyn Damon Diamond  The Marina Times  415-710-7496

I agree with the others above, great post – very informative and funny at the same time – you are a good writer. We heard from Kruk & Kuip on air that if there was a vote on who team members would most likely trust to babysit their kids, you would win. Really?

You know, I always thought undercover agents were supposed to lay low and not bring attention to themselves…

hahahaha. Thats why he’s undercover. You’ll never suspect him

Hmm, seems to be a case of double-reverse psychology…

Loved your candid Post — Put a smile on my face this morning. Very articulate, which I would expect from a UVA grad, and it was so well written I could feel the humor and love coming through. I think Affeldt is the ultimate teaser and it sounds like he is able to taking the teasing as well.
Our Bullpen is the best in baseball right now and it was great hearing from you. Can’t thank you enough for taking the time to do this. It means so much to fans to feel a part of the team, and your words give us that feeling

Great pinch blog Javi, love it!

Thanks for the insight Javi! The bullpen segments were some of my favorites on The Franchise; you guys are a lot of fun.

What a surprise to hear from you! That was interesting and fun to read! I hope you’ll pinch blog again because we don’t hear much about the personalities in the bullpen and they are such a large and important part of our success. Not only do my circle of gamer babe friends think you’re one of the best pitchers out there, we also think you’re absolutely dreamy (big compliment). Are you blushing? 🙂

It is so wonderful to read all of the blogs from each of you! SF Giants players and their loved ones are so uniquely wonderful, the outreach makes being a fan even more special! Always rooting for each of you, on and off the field!! Go Giants!!

I loved the new warmup music you have. Do you change your music every time you give up a home run? Cause its so rare that you give one up, and bam… Humpty dance On Wednesday, in your appearance after you gave one up. It was kind of epic and beautiful. Keep it up.

wow very emlightning piece bout the BP. Your one of my fav reliever. always enjoy watching you pitch. Just hope more guys would pinch in blogging. We fans love to hear stuff from you guys…STAY HOT BOIZ keep that W comin..we got your back..

You’re funny, Javi!🙂 Thanks for the pinch blog… Loved it!! Very cool to hear how well you all get along and the daily happenings in the bullpen. Keep up the good work. It was weird seeing you give up a HR the other day… Like seeing a purple cat. Super rare!! Haha I guess it’s gotta happen sometimes right?! You’re awesome, we love you and don’t be a stranger here! You’re a great writer.

Javy, I know you have a future in broadcasting, if you want it!  Watching Showtime’s “The Franchise”, I was especially struck by how glib and how just darn erudite  you are. Only thing is, you are probably too handsome for radio.  Think t.v.!  I realize now with b-weez gone (and I am still bitter about that even though you guys seemed to take it in stride and wished him well even when he sold himself to THE DOGS!!!) how big a shadow he cast over the pen.  Now is your time to shine.  I’m so proud of you all.  

I loved Anthony’s comment from 5/4 4:24 pm, imagining  if Buster Posey did a pinch blog:  “That was a good game. I was the catcher.”

“What would Buster Blog?” could be a regular feature!!

Thanks again for your contribution and make sure Brandon Belt sees all the comments we’ve posted about how we miss him and can’t wait for his return to the field.  Hey Brandon, it wouldn’t STRAIN ANYTHING for you to do a movie review or two, would it?

Haha! Affeldt would find a way to injure himself even if he was only manning the stopwatch. Give Belt a get well hug and smooch for me😀

So cool to hear from my favorite leftie reliever!! Thanks for sharing the inside story on the bull pen! Very cool!! GO GISNTS!

PS…I knew you had to be FBI!! I just knew it!

GO GIANTS! D*mn it! What? no autocorrect???

Great job Javi – such good descriptions (and funny too) of the bullpen. Helps us fans while watching to understand what you are thinking and feeling. Makes so much sense to be loose and light-hearted until you have to be focused!! Thanks and hope to hear from you again.

Great Post! You should do this more often. Can we get a blogging rotation going on a permanent basis?

Thanks for writing us fans. I know you don’t like giving up HR’s, but I was in McCovey Cove on 4/12/14 when you gave up the splash hit to Freddie Freeman. I had earlier grabbed Tyler Colvin’s Splash Hit #65 that day and wasn’t paying too much attention when you gave up that hit to Freddie. My buddy Steve Garrison grabbed the Freeman HR. I gave Steve a good scare, but side the ball landed only 7 feet from him and it became his 1st HR grab in over 50 kayak games attended in the Cove. Us kayakers always root for the Giants, but we are like retriever dogs and we love to chase balls!

Thank you for the insight into the bullpen. I love the feeling that you guys are all family. That is one of the reasons I was so happy you were able to stay with the Giants.

You should do more with social media. We love to hear from you, you’re always very entertaining and articulate. And we just don’t get to see enough of you on the mound. You’re usually too efficient.🙂

Hope to hear more from you.

That was very entertaining. It was cool reading details such as the room behind the dugout and how the flow of the game goes for the bullpen. The guys on the club this year are clutch, talented, and positive. The Giants have the team chemistry the Dodgers with they had. Beat L.A.!

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