Giants Avoid Sweep, Decline Offer To Pick Up Game in the Standings

Don't know about you, but I would have felt a little guilty about that one. The Giants would have won on a blown call -- the Seth Smith double that was ruled foul in the seventh. I would have taken it, of course. Would have slapped the Oakland tears about my face like a musky cologne. Would have giggled at the thought of a three-game sweep. But I would have felt a little guilty. Like, for a few minutes. Or fewer. It probably would have passed before I finished the first paragraph.

Instead, it was a catch-yourself-in-your-own-zipper game. Surprise! The Giants would have been two back of the Dodgers before a three-game series. It was shaping up quite nicely. And for someone standing in the kitchen with their back to the TV, it was a three-game sweep. Derek Norris just got a piece of a Santiago Casilla fastball, and the ball just ticked off Buster Posey's mitt. Duane Kuiper called the strikeout, and the people with their backs to the TV could revel in a sweep for a second.

Instead, now we get to talk about Santiago Casilla. We were a millimeter away from not talking about Santiago Casilla. Now we get to talk about him. This was the third straight appearance he allowed a run -- the third appearance in three days, all against his former team. Maybe he's tired. Maybe he doesn't respond well to three games in a row. He's certainly not overworked in a general sense -- he was tied for 49th in appearances and 96th in innings pitched coming into today. But now we get to dissect his outing.

We get to use the benefit of hindsight, too. Maybe Sergio Romo would have saved the game. He certainly couldn't have made things worse. He wasn't going to lose an extra game today. So we can poke fun at the manager's slavish devotion to the closer's role. Closers have to close! Setup men have to set up! Crossing the roles would cause all life as you know it to stop instantaneously and every molecule in your body would explode at the speed of light. Total protonic reversal. And that's bad. So closers have to close.

Silly managers. Except here's a two-point reminder for the Giants' bullpen:

  • Santiago Casilla has been quite good
  • When relievers pitch three days in a row, they don't automatically shrivel up and burn like a midday vampire.

So where I'll criticize Bruce Bochy for all sorts of things, I certainly wasn't cursing at the TV when Casilla came into the game. A little nervous, maybe. But I didn't think it was an egregious decision. It's not like you came back from the bathroom and found Alvin Morman or Jim Poole on the mound. Casilla's one of the good ones.

And I hope he stays the closer. His presence allows Sergio Romo to be brought in to the sticky situations that take a modicum of thought. Casilla is brought into the ninth inning when there's a three-run lead, even if the 7-8-9 hitters are due up. Brainless and automatic. Romo gets to be inserted into tricky spots when needed. I like the dynamic. The Giants backed into a good usage pattern.

But we get to talk about him now. And the talk-radio lines will burn up for the next day or so. Even though I don't think the Giants will actually trade for a Matt Capps or Brett Myers this summer, this kind of game doesn't exactly move the Giants away from the possibility. All told, it was a pretty lousy day. Had to use the AK, even if only to open several bottles of beer. Mama cooked a breakfast with snouts dunked in bacon grease.

I had all sorts of other thoughts to jot down, but my cat just brought in a mouse, and now my entire house is going bananas. Seriously. My three-year-old is screaming and running around, and my wife is just about to do the stereotypical '50s thing and stand on a chair. The cat has the mouse cornered, and he's just batting the crap out of him. My calm, peaceful domicile just gave up a walk-off home run to insanity. I suppose I should take care of it. I think I'd rather write about this game, but here goes.

Wish me luck.

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