Apr 26, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Santiago Casilla (46) is congratulated by catcher Buster Posey (28) at the end of the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark. The Giants defeated the Reds 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
New rule: If a closer strikes out the side, he gets the .gif treatment. Closers are the gift for the team who has everything -- an expense that's unnecessary unless the roster is free from any other substantial holes.
But that doesn't mean it isn't awesome when a closer completely overpowers the other team. It's probably one of my favorite things in baseball. Did I mention the Tyler Walker game this week? Doesn't matter. I did it again. Just forget that he gave up three runs to the Tigers two days later.
Anyway, onto Santiago Casilla and the Case of the Disappearing Pitch:
All sliders. Well, actually, I have no idea what that pitch is. Lemme check. GameDay has it as an 82-m.p.h. curveball. Brooks Baseball has it as an 82-m.p.h. curveball. Hot damn, that's nasty. Barry Zito threw two 82-m.p.h. fastballs on Wednesday. If Zito wants to win another Cy Young, all he needs to do is get the same movement on his fastball that Casilla has on his curve. I'll send the Giants an e-mail, see if they can forward it.
According to Brooks, Casilla has thrown that curve just six percent of the time since coming into the league. If he can harness it, it seems like the kind of curve that can make an MVP look silly. Like Joey Votto. Right up there. Yeah.
A couple of weeks ago, I opined that Casilla was one of the most important players on the Giants -- that if he didn't pitch well, the Giants were going to make a stupid trade for a stupid reliever.
It's early yet. But dem .gifs are warming the cockles of me heart right now. The Giants' bullpen would be deeper with a healthy Brian Wilson, but Casilla has the potential to be kind of a badass when it's all working for him. This has been the first installment of Closer Strikes Out the Side. Let there be many more.