The San Francisco Giants did an amazing thing Friday night: they won, despite Santiago Casilla blowing yet another save. They hadn’t won a game in which Casilla failed to nail down the save in four months. Maybe that wouldn’t sound like a big deal if we were talking about Baltimore and their closer Zack Britton—because he never blows saves.
More from SF Giants News
- SF Giants: Reliever Reyes Moronta clears outright waivers
- SF Giants sign veteran 1B John Nogowski to minor league deal
- SF Giants call on veteran LHP Scott Kazmir for big start against Padres
- SF Giants: Update on Alex Dickerson’s rehab assignment
- Atlanta claims SF Giants C Chadwick Tromp off waivers
But the Giants have had many chances to overcome a failed Casilla save opportunity and not come through. While most Giants fans (including myself) are less than enthusiastic about Casilla closing games anymore, his blown saves are only part of the problem. Every once in a while, the offense needs to bail out the closer, like it did in the series opener at Arizona.
I’ve already made my feelings about the state of closing in San Francisco, in my personal plea to Manager Bruce Bochy the other day. Many you echoed the sentiment (and a few, interestingly, objected to questioning Bochy and/or refused to join the witch hunt, or something like that…).
So I won’t get into Casilla’s job security, other than to ask: Was Friday night finally the last time Casilla will be asked to close a game? I realize Bochy stated before Friday’s game that he Casilla was no longer the undisputed closer, but actions speak louder than words.
But let’s focus on the positive stuff, shall we? The Giants went into extra innings, took the lead, then lost the lead, then regained it and held it for a hard-earned victory. And this came on a night when Madison Bumgarner didn’t have his best stuff, giving up four runs in his six innings of work.
So, on when their ace and their closer both put forth subpar efforts, they found still a way to win. Much of that was due to the bullpen’s stellar effort—one earned and one unearned run in six innings. The other part of the equation was the offense, which racked up 12 hits. Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt combined to score six of the team’s seven runs, which is the kind of involvement in run production the Giants desperately need from these two.
Two of those runs were driven in by Eduardo Nunez, who was batting eighth. After seeing him bat leadoff a couple games in a row, I had been hoping that Bochy had finally decided to go with him rather than Denard Span atop the lineup. Alas, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
There are some Nunez naysayers out there, which I don’t really understand. He’s a playmaker, and in my humble opinion, would be more productive if he were batting leadoff and would be more effective in the role than Span. Nunez steals bases and hits extra-base hits. Span gets on base a little more, but that’s about all he does.
But hey, how they start the game offensively is secondary to how they end the game on the mound. Hopefully the Giants head into the ninth of Saturday evening’s game with a lead against the Diamondbacks, and we get to see the new (and hopefully improved) approach to closing games.