Santiago Casilla out as Giants' closer; Hunter Strickland, Derek Law in line for saves

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Giants manager Bruce Bochy has removed struggling Santiago Casilla as the team's closer, saying that Hunter Strickland and Derek Law will be in line for save opportunities as San Francisco enters a crucial series against the rival Dodgers.

Bochy announced his bullpen shakeup one day after Casilla recorded his ninth blown save of the season -- tied for most in the majors -- in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Cardinals.

Bochy declined to appoint either Strickland or Law as a designated closer, but acknowledged that the Giants' ninth-inning situation needed to be changed.

"It's time to tweak it a little bit," Bochy told reporters before Sunday's game. "I'm not saying Law is the closer, but Strickland and Law will be more in the mix in the ninth."

San Francisco (79-70) did not face a save situation in Sunday's 3-0 loss to St. Louis (78-71), which moved one game behind the Giants for the National League's second wild card. The Giants enter Monday's series opener in Los Angeles five games behind the first-place Dodgers (84-65) in the NL West.

The hard-throwing Strickland has a 3.24 ERA and three saves in 68 appearances this season. Law, a 26-year-old rookie, has a 1.90 ERA and one save in 55 games.

Casilla, 36, has served as the Giants' primary closer since midway through the 2014 season and has converted 31-of-40 save opportunities this season. His nine blown saves are tied with White Sox right-hander Nate Jones for most in the majors. It's also the most blown saves by a Giants reliever since Robb Nenn had nine in 1999.

"I'm having bad luck," Casilla said Saturday. "I was looking for a double play, but we lose the game. I try to do my best. I'm not going to be sad or kill myself. It's a game."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.