Giants

Rewind: Bochy chooses Casilla, gets booed as game unravels

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Rewind: Bochy chooses Casilla, gets booed as game unravels

SAN FRANCISCO — Santiago Casilla has had a nightmare season, but it took a new and ugly turn Saturday night. As manager Bruce Bochy walked out to the mound to replace Sergio Romo with Casilla, the crowd at AT&T Park started booing. It increased after a seeing-eye single up the middle tied the game, and again when Casilla walked off the mound after his ninth blown save of the season. 

It’s rare that a Giant gets booed at AT&T Park — the only other recent time was good-natured booing when Bochy tried to pull his own son in the ninth inning — but Casilla said he understands the frustration. 

“I’m doing my best,” he said. “I’ve never had that moment before (where I’m getting booed). I had it now. I’m working to pitch better. It’s a game and you keep working and you put it in the past. I feel bad because I’ve never had that moment before. I tried to do my best.”

[PAVLOVIC: Instant Replay: Giants bullpen coughs up game to Cardinals]

The Giants have never questioned Casilla’s commitment. He is known as one of the hardest workers in the clubhouse, but it’s just not working this year. It appeared he had permanently lost a ninth-inning role last week, but now it’s got to be a certainty. 

After a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, Bochy said he thought this was the right matchup, and he pointed out that alternatives haven’t worked since Casilla lost the closer tag. But ... there’s one the Giants haven’t tried (in large part because of an injury), and Derek Law is long overdue for a shot at the ninth. 

Bochy made a different call tonight and he knew he was going to take heat for it if it played out poorly. It did during a messy inning that included Romo laughing in an apparent sign of disrespect as his manager took the ball away. A few minutes later the Giants had their 28th blown save, matching their franchise record. This one came on a night when Jeff Samardzija was dominant and Brandon Crawford showed every bit of his Gold Glove form. 

The Giants have blown two saves this month in part because of shallow fly balls to left and Crawford wasn’t going to let that happen again. He went deep into the outfield for the first out of the ninth, but it wasn’t enough. The Giants dropped five games behind the Dodgers. They were two outs away from a four-game lead over the Cardinals in the Wild Card race. Instead, they’re now tied with the Mets and they’re just two up on St. Louis. 

It was a crushing night at the ballpark. There’s no getting around it. 

Instead of highlights and lowlights or some form of a game story, here’s how Bochy explained the decision making in the ninth: 

Question: Why did Casilla come in for Romo?
Bruce Bochy: “We huddled up and said if it got to Molina there — he’s had success off of Romo (4-for-9 with a HR) and Casilla would be a better matchup. That’s kind of what the plan was. It didn’t work out. If the ground ball is a foot to the left we wouldn’t be talking about it. He ended up walking him, that’s what hurt. We went with what we thought was the better matchup, or I thought. That’s a tough one. Samardzija threw great and we played well. It’s just tough luck there on that ground ball and once he hit it I thought it was a double play. It just got through.”

Q: Did the single off Romo play into it?
BB: “For some reason Molina has seen the ball pretty well off of Sergio. You go with the history and that’s why the change was made there. (Casilla) got ahead 1-2, he was just a little slow to home plate with the stolen base there and then he ended up walking him. That’s what hurt.”

Q: Strickland started warming up when Casilla ran into trouble. Why did Casilla come in before him? 
BB: “(Casilla) has closed over 30 games and he threw the ball well last night. We had Strick once Casilla went into the game to give us some coverage there. We’ve tried some different things and it hasn’t quite worked out. We’re going with what we think is our best matchup and it didn’t play out tonight. Sure that hurts, but like I said, it’s all hands on deck and we’re going with what we think is our best matchup there.”

Q: Did you consider using Law in the ninth after he got two outs in the eighth?
BB
: “Yeah. He just hasn’t been out there a lot. Sure it’s a consideration. He didn’t get a chance to throw a lot and go a couple innings. But I was fine with Sergio and then like I said, the plan was he would start the inning and if somebody got on, Casilla would have Molina there. It didn’t play out.”

Bruce Bochy not worried that he'll be a 'lame duck' manager in 2019

Bruce Bochy not worried that he'll be a 'lame duck' manager in 2019

SAN FRANCISCO — In the ninth inning of an ugly loss to the Padres on Monday, the camera panned over to Giants manager Bruce Bochy. He was scowling at the home plate umpire after a call he didn’t agree with. 

You can see, then, why Bochy laughed Tuesday when asked if he has ever lost the competitive fire in the dugout. 

“You ask a couple of guys last night who were in the dugout,” he said, smiling. “If I did (lose my fire) I wouldn’t be here. I would not be here. I love what I’m doing and want to be back and have another shot at the postseason.”

Of the three most visible faces on the baseball side of the organization, Bochy is the only one not undergoing changes. General manager Bobby Evans was let go Monday and vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean will soon start interviewing candidates to take the baseball ops slot that reports directly to ownership. 

The manager, though, is under contract, and on Monday, team president and CEO Larry Baer said Bochy will be back. That was relayed to Bochy from Baer and Sabean. In turn, Bochy told the two that he’s not at all concerned about the fact that he’s going into the last year of his contract and there have been no extension talks. He does not consider himself a lame duck.

“I don’t want them to have that on their plate either, and I’ve told them that,” Bochy said. “I’m signed and I’m good right now. Let’s just concentrate on what we need to do and that’s make this team better. I have zero concerns about (my contract).”

Next season will be Bochy’s 13th with the Giants. He spent a dozen years in San Diego and only went through one GM change, and in his first dozen years here, it has been the same. Even with the one change here, there was no drama. Evans was promoted to take Sabean’s job in 2015. Now, Evans is gone, and Bochy will have to work with a new head of baseball operations. This person may eventually want their own handpicked manager, but for at least a year, Bochy will be the choice. He said he’s not at all concerned about how a new partnership may work. His focus is on the field.

“My job is to make it work,” he said.

POLL: Giants memorable moments -- Winning '10 World Series vs. Winning '14 World Series

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AP

POLL: Giants memorable moments -- Winning '10 World Series vs. Winning '14 World Series

NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into Pregame Live at 6 p.m. to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Padres conclude on Friday, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will be crowned most memorable!

1. Giants defeat Rangers in 2010 World Series thanks to Edgar Renteria's three-run homer (New winner -- Defeated Travis Ishikawa's walk-off homer wins 2014 NL Pennant)

(From former Giants outfielder and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Andres Torres)

I got to the field early, around 1:30pm because it was the World Series and you're pumped. Around 3pm, Edgar came to me and said 'Andres, I'm going to hit a homer today.' I'm like 'Okay, I believe him.'

Then we had batting practice, we came in, had something to eat, then we had soft-toss as we got closer to the game. And Edgar said to me 'Remember, I told you I'm going to hit a homer.'

Then in the seventh inning, he hits it, and we see the outfielder going back and back and back and then the ball's gone!!!

I was so pumped and when he came back to the dugout from homeplate, I started yelling in Spanish 'You told me you were going to do it. You told me you were going to do it.' I said it twice because he said it to me twice that he was going to do it. We were so pumped!!!

It was amazing. He called it twice, twice!!! We were World Champions and he was the MVP and it was amazing. Edgar was a leader in the clubhouse. He played a long time and made sure we were all doing the right things, especially me and Pablo (Sandoval). He's a great friend and that was a special moment, I loved it...it was like wow!! It was so cool!!!

VS.

2. Giants defeat Royals in 2014 World Series, Madison Bumgarner closes Game 7 with five shutout innings of relief

(From Alex Pavlovic)

A few minutes after he threw a 119-pitch shutout in Game 5 of the 2014 World Series, Madison Bumgarner was approached by Royals manager Ned Yost. The two were headed in opposite directions as they gave postgame interviews, but Yost wanted to take a moment to congratulate Bumgarner. 

"Great game," he told him. "You know what? I sure am glad I don't have to see you again."

Bumgarner smiled. He had one more trick up his sleeve that month, and it would win the Giants a third World Series, stun the baseball world, and cement the left-hander's place as the best big-game pitcher of his generation. 

Bumgarner came out of the bullpen in Kauffman Stadium in Game 7 and threw 68 pitches over five innings, carrying an early 3-2 lead all the way to the finish line. Essentially making a second start in four days, Bumgarner allowed two hits and struck out four, finishing one of the best postseason runs in baseball history. He earned a five-inning save, lowering his 2014 postseason ERA to 1.03 over an astounding 52 2/3 innings. 

"As soon as I saw him warming up and we had the lead, I knew it was over," said Game 7 starter Tim Hudson. "I knew the big fella was going to get it done."

Hudson lasted just 1 2/3 innings before turning it over to Jeremy Affeldt, who got the ball to Bumgarner. The Giants scored twice in the second and took the lead on Michael Morse's single in the fourth. Joe Panik had the defensive highlight of the night, diving and glove-flipping to Brandon Crawford to start a huge double play in the third. From there, it was the Bumgarner show. 

A misplay in the outfield put Alex Gordon on third with two down in the ninth, but Salvador Perez popped up. The Giants had a third title in five years. 

"This group of warriors continues to amaze me," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Nobody wanted it more than them."

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