SF Giants need to bring in a closer 

click to enlarge HELP WANTED: After Santiago Casilla, right, blew his fifth save of the season Wednesday, it became even more clear the Giants need a new closer. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images File Photo
  • HELP WANTED: After Santiago Casilla, right, blew his fifth save of the season Wednesday, it became even more clear the Giants need a new closer.

Five blown saves in eight attempts? That’s not a trend. That’s just plain sucking. The Giants need to address the closer situation before the trade deadline, and they’d be wise to target Huston Street of the San Diego Padres.

Formerly of the Colorado Rockies and A’s, Street is among the closing elite, and as a free agent-to-be, he’s not going to command a premium prospect in the return package. He’ll cost the Giants about $3.5 million, or what’s left of his $7.5 million salary for the season, but the ownership group can more than afford it, and the peace of mind it would bring will be more than worth it.

Why not Sergio Romo? Because his slider, which might be the best pitch in the big leagues this year, creates occasional elbow tenderness in the setup-man supreme. No less an authority than Giants general manager Brian Sabean has already said very publicly that he doesn’t want to tempt fate by taxing Romo’s ’bow.

Brad Penny? Uh, no. There’s a reason he hasn’t been relevant in a couple of years. His fastball is straight as a string, and while he can still get it to the mid-90s, his recent decline is further proof that velocity is overrated. Every elite closer in the game has crazy movement and plus command. Penny has decent command, but the big fella’s ball hardly moves at all.

You know who does have decent movement? Brett Bochy. Yep, the son of the skipper. He’s 24 years old, and entering the weekend, he was 6-2 with a 1.55 ERA and a .156 opponents’ batting average. He also boasts 10 saves and 51 strikeouts against 11 walks, without allowing a home run in 40²⁄³ innings this season at Double-A Richmond, home of the team with the greatest name in minor-league ball: Flying Squirrels.

Bruce managing Brett? Could be awkward. The jump from Double-A to the bigs is no joke, either. So the answer is clear. Sabean has to look outside the organization.

Be it Street, Kansas City’s Jonathan Broxton or someone else from a team clearly out of contention, someone has to be brought in. Simply hoping Casilla gets right would do a disservice to the other 24 men on the roster, not to mention the fans paying for the freight.

SOUR MELK: Melky Cabrera sure broke form with his crotch chops in the ATL this week.
Since arriving in San Francisco, Melky has been lauded as a class act, and as such he’s been embraced like few others in orange and black. But there’s no denying that this was a bad look. He did it on all three days, and a couple of his teammates joined in the lameness.

In baseball, the guys who respond to criticism from the stands are derisively referred to as “rabbits” — Milton Bradley had the biggest set of ears in the history of the game, and was known as “Bugs” behind his back.

Melky doesn’t want that. He’s come too far.

Leave the past in the past, and restrict your response to raking. That’s always the best revenge.

KEEPING COCO: A week ago, I was thinking the ideal trade-deadline scenario for the A’s would be to keep Bartolo Colon and find a taker for Coco Crisp’s bad contract.

Now I’m thinking I had the wrong guy staying and the wrong guy going.

The A’s have enough pitching, healthy and on the mend, to handle losing Colon in an effort to address needs on the left side of the infield. Well, Coco’s return to the lineup served as a reminder that his presence takes pressure off Jemile Weeks by moving him down in the order, and Crisp’s skill set — intangibles included — will be needed in a big way if Billy Beane really does think the A’s have a shot at making a wild-card run.

PROTECTING PATERNO: It’s only a couple of guys, but the young men guarding Joe Pa’s statue at Penn State have enough ignorance of the big picture to fill the stadium outside which they stand sentry. Fellas, open your eyes and ears. You’re fighting a losing and embarrassing battle on behalf of Joe Paterno. Even your student leadership council sees the light now, having recently renamed “Paternoville” — where fans camp out to score football tickets — to “Nittanyville.” So drop your ridiculous defense of this severely flawed man’s legacy and step aside for the wrecking ball.

POSTGAME PIES: Hey, congratulations Brandon Hicks. First career homer, and a walk-off to boot. Sweet stuff for the A’s rookie shortstop. But did the whipped cream to the mug make it any sweeter? How about the SECOND pie to the mug? Oh, what a hoot!

Come on. No. It added nothing. It served as a reminder that some people just can’t stand not being part of the story, and I’m talking about every pie-thrower out there. Let the man have his moment. Interjecting yourself with one of the most tired so-called celebratory acts in sport — hello, Gatorade bath — is bad for ball.

Mychael Urban, a frequent co-host of
The Wheelhouse (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) on
95.7 FM The Game, can be followed on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is UrbsUnchained.com.

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Bio:
Mychael Urban has covered Bay Area sports for more than 22 years as a contributor to Comcast SportsNet, CSNBayArea.com, KNBR, MLB.com, ESPN The Magazine and various newspapers.
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