Bochy: Casilla still 'best option' as Giants closer

Bochy: Casilla still 'best option' as Giants closer

SAN FRANCISCO -- Santiago Casilla remains in the closer role for the Giants and had his first chance at redeeming himself Saturday, just one day after Justin Turner hit a go-ahead solo home run to deliver the Dodgers a 3-2 win.

Casilla again found himself in a tie situation Saturday, and again he faced Turner, this time getting him to ground into an inning-ending double play in an eventual 5-4 Giants walk-off victory vs. the Dodgers. It was encouraging for the closer, who had a dismal month of June up to that point, entering the game with 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA this month and four blown saves this season.

Casilla shrugged off the Turner at-bat, saying, "I always pitch well against Turner. The only mistake I made yesterday was that I had a very bad location," something that's plagued him throughout his struggles.

"I'm making mistakes," Casilla said before Saturday's game through an interpreter. "I'm leaving the ball up. I have to concentrate and make sure it stays down. These are the big leagues; you can't make mistakes and leave your pitches up. When you do that, you'll get what happened to me yesterday."

Still, right-handed batters are hitting just .179 off Casilla this year and he has 32 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings, leaving manager Bruce Bochy to add, "He's still our best option right now to close these games."

"His hiccups don't match the numbers," Bochy said before Saturday's game. "He's making a mistake here and there that really hurt him. ... Do I feel like I need to back off him? At this point, no. Sure, there comes a point where if you have to tweak things, you do. You've seen us do it with [Sergio] Romo being the closer and going back to the eighth inning.

"We'll hopefully get this a bit more consistent in the ninth. [Casilla's] stuff is really good; he just has to stay away from the critical mistakes."

Bochy used three pitchers -- Casilla included -- to close out the ninth inning of Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Red Sox and isn't afraid to revisit that strategy.

"I'll help him if I have to. You've seen [Javier] Lopez come in," Bochy said. "If I have to do a little bit more, I'll do that."

Casilla endured a rough stretch last season, posting a 6.75 ERA in July and finishing the year with six blown saves, something he's thought about recently.

"I can't get down on myself. These things are going to happen over the course of a game," he said. "I have to react like I'm the horse of the team. I have to keep my head up. I can't just look down and feel sorry for myself."

• Bochy said "it looks like" Matt Cain (right hamstring) will come off the disabled list and start Monday against the Brewers.

• The Giants celebrated the 30-year anniversary of their 1986 team before Saturday's game by having members of the team throw out the first pitch, including Roger Craig, Mike Krukow, Will Clark and others.

Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.