© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The Battle of the Bay began early this year after tensions grew in the San Francisco Giants’ 6-5 victory over the Oakland A’s on March 12.
Before Franklin Barreto’s two-run homer off Sam Dyson in the sixth inning. Before Dyson brushed back Khris Davis in the following at-bat, which led to heated exchange of words between both teams after the A’s slugger coaxed a walk. Before Roberto Gomez, Dyson’s replacement, hit A’s prospect Ramon Laureano on the hand later that same inning. And before Daniel Gossett drilled Orlando Calixte on the back in the eighth inning, only to allow the Giants third baseman to score the game-winning run on Jarrett Parker’s RBI double, Mike Krukow identified where the tension began while appearing on Murph & Mac Tuesday morning.
“Santiago Casilla started the whole thing,” Krukow said. “To no surprise.”
“He’s aggressive inside,” Krukow said. “We knew that when he pitched for the Giants. Up under the chin, down the outside corner, up under the chin. He had about six of them that were close and it caught the eye of the Giants.”
After 14 years in the major leagues, Casilla has only known the Bay Area, having spent seven years with both the Giants and A’s. He debuted with the A’s in 2004 and played in Oakland until he signed with the Giants in 2010, where he became a critical part of their bullpen during their three championship runs.
Although he managed to record 31 saves in 2016, the Giants opted not to bring back Casilla and he signed a reunion contract with the A’s last January. In his appearance against the Giants, Casilla worked a scoreless inning with one strikeout, but wasn’t afraid to come in on the batters he faced.
Spring training used to be a time for pitchers to get even with a batter without any repercussions from the league. Yet, now a player can be suspended for misconduct during spring training. Nonetheless, Krukow believes this incident was a great time for each team’s pitchers to show that they’ll stand up for their team.
“Now, spring training is no longer a place to hide,” Krukow said. “But I think it’s necessary, especially when you have new hitters coming in. They want to see how you handle it as a staff. So, it’s a significant thing. It was a significant thing for both the Giants and the A’s.”
Monday was the first of 10 meetings between these teams this year with three remaining in spring training and a pair of three-game series during the regular season. If Krukow is correct, this tension will linger throughout the season.
“Absolutely,” Krukow said. “It should. You should know that if you’re going to do something like that, there’s going to be a price to pay.”
To listen to the full interview check out the podcast below, and skip to 1:22 for Krukow on the Giants-A’s feud.