Lopez appeared ticketed for a swingman role when camp was suspended, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports. Flanagan suggests that Lopez would have opened the year as a long reliever while staying stretched out so that he could enter the rotation as needed. Prospect Brady Singer had emerged as a dark horse candidate to win the fifth starter's spot. Lopez had a 4.22 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 12:2 K:BB in 10.2 innings this spring.
Manager Mike Matheny said that Lopez is in line to start Friday's Cactus League opener against the Rangers, Alec Lewis of The Athletic reports. Lopez will get his first opportunity to stake a claim to an Opening Day rotation spot after he flitted back and forth between starting and relief duty during a mostly turbulent 2019 season. He was similarly ineffective in both capacities, posting a 6.57 ERA and .374 wOBA across 86.1 innings as a starter and a 5.79 ERA and .327 wOBA over 37.1 innings out of the bullpen. Securing a starting role would enhance Lopez's fantasy appeal, but he'll merely be an AL-only consideration until he delivers better results at the big-league level.
Lopez did not factor in the decision against Minnesota on Sunday, completing six innings and giving up four runs on six hits and no walks while striking out three. Lopez did a good job in limiting Minnesota to six baserunners but couldn't keep the ball in the park as all four runs scored against him came via the long ball. The 26-year-old shifted between the bullpen and a starting role in a disappointing season, concluding the campaign with a 4-9 record along with a 6.33 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 109:42 K:BB across 123.2 innings.
Lopez (4-9) allowed seven runs on eight hits with one walk and zero strikeouts across 2.1 innings while taking a loss against the Twins on Sunday. The 26-year-old took a loss in a quality start during his last outing, but there wasn't much quality in his appearance Sunday. Lopez tied a season high with eight hits allowed and didn't record a strikeout for the first time since throwing only one-third of an inning on July 29. He is 4-9 with a 6.35 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 106 strikeouts in 117.2 innings this season. Lopez will end the season with another appearance against the Twins at home Sunday.
Lopez (4-8) was tagged with the loss against Oakland on Tuesday, pitching six innings and allowing two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out four. Lopez cruised through six scoreless innings before surrendering a pair of runs in the seventh, leading to his eighth loss. Despite the disappointing outcome, the outing continued a streak of solid September starts in which Lopez has given up only four earned runs over 17.1 innings. The 26-year-old will try to get back into the win column when he heads to Minnesota on Sunday to make his next scheduled start.
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