MLB

2010 MLB PLAYOFFS;NLCS NOTEBOOK;Former Sox beef up Giants bullpen

FOX Sports By SCOTT LAUBER, The Boston Herald
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PHILADELPHIA - Ramon Ramirez could not stop smiling, a rare emotion for him earlier this season. Seated nearby, Javier Lopez spoke of his rebirth since returning to a sidearm delivery.

And without the exiled Red Sox relievers, the San Francisco Giants may not still be playing.

''To me, it's immeasurable what those two guys gave us,'' Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said yesterday on the eve of Game 1 of the NL Championship Series against the Phillies. ''Honestly, without Lopez and Ramon, I'm not quite sure if we're here or not.''

Lopez, granted free agency last year after four seasons with the Red Sox and traded by the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates on July 31, is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA since joining the Giants.

Ramirez, who had a 4.46 ERA in 44 appearances for the Red Sox and was growing disenchanted with what he perceived to be a lack of confidence from manager Terry Francona and pitching coach John Farrell, was traded July 31 for minor league pitcher Daniel Turpen. He went 1-0 with a 0.67 ERA in 25 games for the Giants.

''I feel like the team wasn't confident in me,'' Ramirez said of the Red Sox. ''I feel like I don't know what I need to do, like I don't know what I need to prove because I was pitching last year with this team.''

Righetti said Ramirez had to earn the Giants' confidence, something he did by throwing 10 2/3 scoreless innings before allowing a run.

''When we needed him for something, he came through,'' the former Yankees closer said. ''But I've been in the pen, and if a couple times you don't get up, you get to feel that way, that maybe they don't have confidence in you. That's part of the deal with being a reliever, and we understand that.''

Added Lopez: ''Ramon was excited about the opportunity, the same as I was, just to get here and perform. The high-pressure atmosphere of Boston probably helps in these (playoff) situations. It's a media-driven city. To be able to come here and have that experience already with you, it speaks volumes.''

By the numbers

With anticipation building for tonight's matchup between Phillies ace Roy Halladay and Giants counterpart Tim Lincecum, statistical guru and Red Sox senior adviser Bill James ranked their respective Division Series gems.

James' verdict: Lincecum was slightly more dominant in his two-hit, 14-strikeout shutout than Halladay was in his no-hitter.

''I think that doesn't make any sense at all,'' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ''Two-hitter? No-hitter is better than a two-hitter, I think.'' Lincecum's performance scored a 96 in a formula developed by James to determine a pitcher's dominance in a particular start. It ranked behind only Roger Clemens' one-hitter with 15 strikeouts in Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS (98), Babe Ruth's 14-inning complete game in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series (97) and Dave McNally's 11-inning, 11-strikeout shutout in Game 2 of the 1969 ALCS (97). Halladay's no-no earned a 94.

The Giants posted the lowest team ERA (3.36) in the majors.

Lincecum and Matt Cain are joined by lefty Jonathan Sanchez and right-hander Madison Bumgarner in a rotation that reminds center fielder Aaron Rowand of his 2005 Chicago White Sox. They won the World Series with Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, Jose Contreras and Orlando Hernandez.

Tagged: Phillies, Giants, Roy Halladay, Javier Lopez, Ramon Ramirez, Tim Lincecum

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