Santiago Casilla arrived at spring training late after having visa issues, but impressed enough to secure the right-handed part of a closer timeshare with Sean Doolittle. The veteran amassed 16 saves and two holds before handing the reins to Blake Treinen soon after the All-Star break. The change was warranted as Casilla rung up a 4.42 ERA and 1.42 WHIP through the end of July. He pitched better the final two months, recording a 3.98 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with two more holds. Casilla's strikeout rate dropped despite a higher swinging-strike rate, in part because the Coliseum's massive foul territory suppresses punchouts. Casilla has another season left on his contract with Oakland. Even though the club isn't afraid to ride the hot hand, Casilla is likely ticketed for seventh-inning duties. With a dropping strikeout rate, and a light workload for a reliever -- he's had only one season with more than 60 innings -- Casilla's fantasy potential is extremely limited, even in AL-only leagues.
Casilla allowed an earned run on a hit over one inning in Monday's 8-3 win over the Tigers. He struck out two. The former closer allowed a seventh-inning homer to Ian Kinsler but was otherwise sharp, throwing 10 of his 13 pitches for strikes. Casilla's season-long instability has continued in September, as he's given up an earned run apiece in each of his last three outings and in four appearances during the month overall. He appears relegated to setup duty at best for the balance of the regular season, especially given Blake Treinen's relative success in the ninth-inning role.
Casilla fired a scoreless eighth inning in Monday's 3-1 loss to the Angels, recording two strikeouts. Casilla doesn't turn in too many completely clean outings these days, but Monday's was his third of August. Nevertheless, the 37-year-old's current role seems to be much closer to setup man than closer, and given his inconsistency since the beginning of July (2-for-6 in save opportunities), it may remain that way for the balance of the campaign.
Casilla fired a scoreless seventh inning in Monday's 7-3 loss to the Orioles, allowing a hit and recording two strikeouts. The success of Blake Treinen and Casilla's own struggles will likely result in the veteran reliever not seeing many save chances moving forward. Monday was Casilla's first appearance since his latest late-inning meltdown, one in which he surrendered three earned runs over just one-third of an inning against the Royals last Tuesday. The 37-year-old has blown seven saves on the season overall.
Casilla came on in the eighth inning Tuesday and suffered his seventh blown save of the season, surrendering three runs on two hits and a walk while recording just one out against the Royals. Alex Gordon led off the inning with a walk, then Drew Butera hit a two-run shot. Whit Merrifield then flied out and Lorenzo Cain singled and that was the end of Casilla's night. Blake Treinen came on and gave up home runs to Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, but thanks to a huge Oakland rally in the bottom of the eighth inning, Treinen actually got the win after going back out for the ninth inning. This was the first time Casilla had given up a run since July 26, but the meltdown was likely enough to keep him firmly in the eighth-inning role going forward.
Casilla fired a scoreless ninth inning in Sunday's 9-3 win over the Orioles, allowing a hit and recording two strikeouts. Casilla hasn't notched a save since July 23, but he has compiled two holds and a win over six August appearances. The 37-year-old hasn't surrendered a run since falling apart in a blown save opportunity against the Blue Jays on July 26, making it one of his most effective stretches of the season. Although Casilla has worked his ERA back down to 3.89, it remains to be seen if he'll return to a full-time closer role.