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.”

Mark Melancon posts nasty photo of post-surgery scar

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Instagram/mark_melancon_

Mark Melancon posts nasty photo of post-surgery scar

Last week, Giants reliever Mark Melancon underwent surgery on his right elbow.

On Monday morning, he posted to Instagram:

My transformation to a human baseball has begun #Baseball #SFGiants #Surgery #Stitches

A post shared by Mark Melancon (@mark_melancon_) on

Melancon signed a 4-year, $62 million contract with the Giants last winter.

It was a rough first season in San Francisco for the three-time All-Star.

He spent time on the DL and appeared in just 32 games -- 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA.

On Sept. 8, he posted to Twitter:

Melancon was diagnosed with pronator syndrome -- similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Giants snap four-game losing streak to avoid sweep vs D'backs

Giants snap four-game losing streak to avoid sweep vs D'backs

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval homered and drove in three runs, rookie Chris Stratton pitched six strong innings and the San Francisco Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-2 on Sunday.

The Diamondbacks had won 20 of 25 games and nine straight on the road. Their magic number for clinching a playoff berth was six going into Sunday.

The Giants snapped a four-game skid. Stratton (3-3) struck out four and gave up two runs, five hits and a walk.

Stratton also had the first of three singles leading off San Francisco's three-run fifth. He scored when Austin Slater drew a four-pitch walk off starter Taijuan Walker (9-8).

The Giants loaded the bases with no outs three times - off Walker in the fourth and fifth innings and against T.J. McFarland in the seventh.

Sandoval homered leading off the sixth - his third in 37 games since returning to the Giants in July. He's batting .185 since being acquired.

Sandoval drove in a run in the seventh with a fielder's choice on a fly ball that dropped near left fielder David Peralta, who fired to second get a force out on Brandon Crawford. Sandoval also knocked in the game's first run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer off Stratton in the sixth, his 24th home run in 51 games since the Diamondbacks acquired him in a July trade with the Detroit Tigers.

Walker gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings.

STARTERS' STREAK SNAPPED

Walker's outing snapped a streak of eight straight games in which Diamondbacks starters gave up two or fewer runs. Starters were a combined 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA over that stretch.

VOGELSONG RETIRES

Fan favorite Ryan Vogelsong retired as a Giant in a ceremony before the game. Vogelsong was part of the Giants' championship teams in 2012 and 2014.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: C Buster Posey was out of the lineup after fouling a ball off his left big toe Saturday. Manager Bruce Bochy said the injury isn't serious and expects to have him back in the lineup after Monday's day off. ... LHP Will Smith, who had Tommy John surgery in March, started his throwing program on Sunday.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (14-12, 4.06 ERA) will pitch Monday's series opener in San Diego. Corbin is 6-1 with a 2.12 ERA in his last seven starts. He's 5-6 with a 4.29 ERA in 15 career outings (including 10 starts) against the Padres.

Giants: After the team's day off, Johnny Cueto (7-8, 4.58 ERA) will pitch Tuesday's series opener against Colorado. Cueto is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts since coming off the DL with a flexor tendon strain on Sept. 1. He is 9-3 with a 2.66 ERA in in 15 career starts against the Rockies.