San Francisco Giants: A Personal Plea to Bruce Bochy
So, Bruce. May I call you Bruce? Alright, fine: Mr. Bochy. You know we San Francisco Giants fans love you. The respect-o-meter won’t stop spinning around the dial. I mean, we all know you’re the primary reason we have three World Series titles this decade. And I’m not just saying that. Really, you’re the Man.
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All that said, I have to ask you: what in tarnation are you doing?! When is enough enough with Santiago Casilla and these blown saves?? Just how much tolerance for emotional agony do you have? Yes, your goodwill with Giants fans runs as deep as the Pacific Ocean, but how much of it do you really want to squander with this inexplicability of sticking with Casilla? (Sorry, that last one was a little harsh.)
I know you probably don’t want to go to a committee, and you’ve sure gotten far while showing loyalty to your guys. But Casilla just doesn’t have it in him anymore. Maybe he did at one point, a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. But he’s just not a closer material these days. And certainly not someone you can rely on in the postseason (if Casilla doesn’t single-handedly cough up the Giants’ chances at reaching the postseason).
You benched Pablo Sandoval. You demoted Tim Lincecum to the bullpen—a two-time Cy Young winner…to the ‘pen! But you don’t have it in you to hand the ball to someone other than Casilla in the ninth inning when trying to protect a slim lead?
It’s really not that hard. Heck, you did it tonight. Twice. Only you waited until Casilla gave up a home run to lead off the inning and then allowed another baserunner. Unfortunately, you gave the ball to Josh Osich, who let you down by plunking the only batter he faced, and then to Joe Nathan, who might be older than you are. But still, you proved you can hand the ball to someone other than Casilla in these pressure situations.
Now, technically, Casilla didn’t add to his league-leading seven blown saves in Wednesday’s demoralizing 6-5 loss to the Rockies. (Quick tangent: How many demoralizing losses does it take until there’s no more spirit/soul to demoralize?) That statistical notch technically went to Nathan, while, by the miracle of statistical irony, Casilla was credited with a hold. But, really, no matter what rules the stat man must abide by, Casilla failed yet again to nail down the game in the ninth. If he were a shutdown closer, then you wouldn’t have had to turn to a rookie and retreaded former great closer later in the ninth.
It’s unacceptable. It’s unfair to the team and the fans. (And to Casilla, for that matter.) It’s inconceivable to see him out there on the mound ever again with a ninth-inning lead to protect. Thinking of him attempting to close another game is mind-numbingly incomprehensible. It’s like trying to imagine the outer limits of the universe—the brain just starts to overheat and shut down.
Give Sergio Romo another turn. Or let’s see what Will Smith can do. Why didn’t you try Derek Law at some point (before he hit the DL with the ever-scary forearm strain)? Dare I say, even Hunter Strickland might be worth a shot rather than continuing to run Casilla out there. (We’re over that 2014 postseason, right?) Matt Cain, maybe? What about Krukow?
There may not be a clear-cut, singular alternative at this time, but you can figure it out. Heck, you’re the genius who led three overachieving Giants squads to World Series titles and who loves making pitching changes as much as Madison Bumgarner loves yelling at Yasiel Puig. This challenge seems like it would be right up your ally.
Even if there truly isn’t a better option, at least you can sink to the bottom of the ocean looking for a floating log rather than sitting idly on the leaking ship.
So, please, Boch—Mr. Bochy, I mean—do us all a favor and put Casilla’s closing career out of its misery. The time has come. Well, the time came and went a long time ago, but you get my point.
Next: Time to Rally Like It's 2014
And if you don’t want to do it for the sake of common baseball sense, then at least do it for the millions of Giants fans who get that much closer to being prescribed hypertension medication with every Casilla save opportunity. Please, save us from the torture.