Santiago Casilla’s first 2017 meeting with Mike Trout didn’t go well. Even so, the A’s closer isn’t about to back away from any follow-up confrontation with the Angels MVP.
Trout came up in the 10th inning with Casilla tasked with holding a 1-0 lead with the A’s hoping to get off to a winning start in the series up 1-0. On a 2-0 pitch, Trout took Casilla out to right field.
That homer, which came on what both A’s manager Bob Melvin and A’s catcher Josh Phegley said was a good pitch. It tied the game and the A’s lost in the 11th inning.
“I thought it was a good pitch, too, especially being behind 2-0 in the count,” Casilla said. “I saw Trout’s reaction after he hit the pitch. He looked at it like `how did I keep that fair?’ ”
Well, MVPs do that. What’s next for Casilla is to win the battle the next time. It could be any Angels’ hitter, but he says if it’s Trout again, he’s up for that.
“That would be perfect,” he said about a Trout rematch as soon Wednesday evening. “I’d like to face him again. I want that. The game is in the past, but I’d like that same opportunity to come back and close the game.”
Casilla was in the Giants’ bullpen for more than half a decade and was the closer on two World Series championship teams before returning this season to the A’s, the team that signed him originally. He said it took time during his San Francisco sojourn to learn the skill of burying the past.
“It’s just time and the experience of being here and having the opportunity of doing it and then succeeding at it,” he said through team interpreter Juan Dorado. “You want to give yourself a chance to learn from all those experiences. I’ve learned from watching others pitch and others fail.”
Then Casilla sat up straight in front of his locker and tapped the right side of his head with his right forefinger.
“With something like last night, he beat me with that pitch, but he’s not going to beat me mentally,” he said. “Last night was one of those things, a battle within a battle. But that’s why we’re here, to get another opportunity.”