The curious case of Casilla as closer
I can’t possibly be the only Giants fan that instantly breaks into a sweat the second Santiago Casilla starts warming up in the bullpen.
Certainly I would love to see every starting pitcher in the Giants rotation be so dominant that they are able to pitch all nine innings — ahem, 36 shut-out innings — but even our starters need a little help every couple of games.
When they do, we have to put our faith and loyalty in the bullpen. When I see Javier Lopez or Sergio Romo warming up, I typically feel pretty relaxed. Why? Because I trust those guys to get the job done.
But if I see Casilla in the pen, I instantly get nervous.
Which is usually followed by my tutu twin Melanie’s reaction:
“Ack, @&$#%*! Santiago Casilla.”
This feeling of unease started well before the walk-off HR he gave up in Oakland. Casilla has been putting knots in my stomach since the season started. His tendency to allow runners to get on base —and into scoring position! — doesn’t fill me with much confidence.
Crazy enough, though, when you look at his game log, it’s hard to see why he wouldn’t be SF’s closer: He tallied eight
wins saves in nine appearances in the month of June. He has a 2.61 ERA and two save situations where he only threw four pitches to close out a game.
He even racked up a win on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds.
Albeit in a ninth inning where he came in, gave up three straight hits and allowed the ballgame to get tied up. If it hadn’t been for pretty-faced Angel Pagan smacking a double at the bottom of that inning, the G-men would’ve only taken one win in the series.
And these shenanigans of giving up several base hits to the opposition before completely closing out the game isn’t good for this young baseball fan’s blood pressure.
It’s more stressful than not clinching a 2010 post-season berth until that final game against the Padres. And we all know how stress-inducing that game was.
Speaking of the Padres, Casilla threw 27 pitches against a dismal San Diego squad on June 7 before solidifying the 8-3 victory and a win for Matt Cain.
I want to like Casilla, I really do. But I can’t trust a closer who doesn’t consistently come in to… well, close.