Santiago Casilla blew a save on Wednesday. He gave up loud contact and got into a mess on Thursday. The winning run was on first base, and the tying run was in scoring position. A left-handed hitter was up. So Bruce Bochy did what we all would have done, and he brought in Javier Lopez.
No big deal. Just another day at the ballyard.
Wrong! Casilla was miffed after the game. Super miffed. He spoke his mind and gave unusually candid comments.
Santiago Casilla's postgame comments were lively, to say the least. pic.twitter.com/A1lQCnzsrW— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) May 13, 2016
The typical fan response is something like, "You stink, erratic closer! Stop stinking, and maybe you can stay in the game!" That's not a completely unreasonable response. Casilla gave up two loud hits and a pitch-around walk. He's been pitching fine, for the most part, but his timing is abysmal. And with one out left in a game, and Hunter Strickland in a glass case, a manager has to bring in Lopez there.
This wasn't the first time Bochy has gone to Lopez in this situation. It probably won't be the last. And for whatever reason, it rankled Casilla more than usual.
Think for a moment about what Casilla probably should have said, at least going by the give-it-110-percent media handbook they give out to rookies. I'm disappointed, but I understand why the skipper did it. I just hope I get the ball next time and show what I can do. Something utterly forgettable and harmless, even if he felt completely different.
It probably would have been better that way, followed up with a private chat with his manager. [Krukow voice] To all you youngsters out there, that's how you want to handle any job you have in the future. Don't call out the boss publicly. Take a deep breath and address him personally.
But now we have it in the open, a window into Casilla's anger and frustration. We get to know what he was thinking, and he apparently thinks he's a proven closer who is above being replaced by a LOOGY in a sticky situation in the ninth.
I mean, he's not that kind of elite closer. He isn't Mariano Rivera, and he's not Kenley Jansen, which means that he should be subject to matchups in extreme situations like that. Bochy has brought in Lopez to start an inning several times, so I'm not sure what the difference is, other than the shiny gold S in the box score.
But I want my closer to think that. I want him to be ticked off if there's any hint that he isn't King Save of Closer Mountain. I want him to be so ticked off that he pops off to the press before cooling down, and I want him to use that fire in his internal combustion engine the next time he takes the mound.
I don't want my closer to think, "Aw, raspberries, I messed up again, and this is the price. I guess I need to stop pitching like a jackaninny. Sigh."
If it becomes a distraction, or if it keeps coming up, then there's a problem. But a one-time show of frustration doesn't bother me in the slightest. Really, this just highlights how infrequent they are in the Giants' clubhouse, how many frustrations don't see the light of print. That's almost certainly a testament to Bruce Bochy's clubhouse. It's also why I'm pretty sure this is going to blow over.
Santiago Casilla was doing a poor job, which isn't something he's done much of over the past six seasons. Because he was doing a poor job, his manager came out and replaced him with someone who had a chance to do a better job. It was basically an announcement that Casilla wasn't good at what defines him, and that angered the closer.
Understandable. Hopefully everybody takes a breath and moves on. If you think this is some kind of last straw for Casilla, I have bad news for you. He has better qualifications than anyone else in the organization, from strikeouts to walks to experience to runs allowed, and it'll take a lot more than this to get him out of the closer's role. That's still probably a good thing.