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Santiago Casilla, not Sergio Romo, is the Giants’ new closer

Apr 18, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

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Sergio Romo has been one of the best, most dominant relievers in baseball while setting up Brian Wilson for the past four seasons, but with Wilson headed for elbow surgery it was Santiago Casilla, not Romo, who got the call in the ninth inning last night.

Casilla did the job, saving a 4-2 win over the Phillies, and afterward manager Bruce Bochy made it clear that Casilla would be “first in line” for saves. He also left open the possibility of using multiple relievers, including Romo, in the ninth inning, but Bochy also turned to Casilla for save chances when Wilson was sidelined last year.

Romo is the best reliever in the Giants’ bullpen–sporting a 2.29 ERA and 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings for his career–but Casilla is also plenty good and it’s possible that the Giants can get more value out of keeping Romo in a setup role where he can put out fires and shut down teams in a variety of situations instead of being limited to ninth innings with leads of 1-3 runs.

  1. clarenceoveur - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    I think teams starting to put their Not Best Reliever at closer with some frequency now, White Sox (Reed), royals (Holland or Crow), Rays (anyone but Rodney) and now Giants……well, Dusty Baker put his best reliever at closer, so maybe not everyone. Its a start I guess. In some world, you’d like to see Romo et. al. used in the highest leveraged spot,but gotta figure once Casilla gets his Scarlet C, Romo will be banned from the 9th inning.

  2. jarathen - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Every time someone is announced as closer, the Dark Lord grows stronger. Managers – please stop managing to an arbitrary statistic. Just this one. For now.

  3. Francisco (FC) - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    So what you’re saying is Bochy is saving his best reliever for important situations?

  4. SOBEIT - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    I am more confident in our closer by committee than last years catcher by committee. Still possible to trade in a couple months for another arm to back up the 7/8th innings or to call up Hembree. I doubt we get a new closer in a trade but just a solid arm to compliment the current committee closers…meaning we don’t trade with Astros closer.

  5. jrd8523 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Sergio Romo is one of the most slider dependant relievers in baseball. They dont want the little guy pitching back to backs in games where he is not expected to be pulled till its over. He puts enough more stress on his elbow already. So they went with the guy dependant on the fastball. Probably be that way until Romos change up is as consistant as his other offerings.

  6. simon94022 - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Smart move, Casilla is undervalued and has experience with the closer role, which is overvalued.

  7. rsktkr25 - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Closing is a head game. No need for a closer. Treat the ninth like any other inning and try to get guys out. Hitters don’t get better or worse in the ninth……they are just the same as in the first. If a pitcher that came in in the sixth is still dealing leave his ass in there. If not, whatever inning he starts throwing softballs, yank him and put in the next freshest arm. The role of the closer is just that…..a role. Just because he doesn’t tuck in his shirt, smells like bourbon, has a pack of smokes hidden somewhere in his uniform and they play Wherever I May Roam by Metallica when he comes into the game doesn’t mean the hitters are scared and can’t hit a 600 ft. homer off of him. The theatrical “closer” role is played out.

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