There have already been some ups and downs for the San Francisco Giants this season, but they already have five shutouts — with catcher Curt Casali to thank, as he also makes history in the process.
Casali enters a very interesting stat, and his five straight shutouts makes him the fifth catcher in the modern era to accomplish this feat. To make Casali stand out, even more, he is the only pitcher to catch five straight shutouts with five different starting pitchers. Those five starters include Johnny Cueto, Anthony Descalfani, Alex Wood, Kevin Gausman, and Aaron Sanchez. In Giants history, Casali made history after just four consecutive shutouts, something that hadn’t been done in the franchise for 120 years when “Broadway” Aleck Smith did it, back in 1901, when the Giants were still in New York.
In a post-game interview, Casali compared catchers to offensive linemen in football, adding, “Me and Buster [Posey] have worked really hard behind the scenes, and it feels like, finally, it comes to the forefront. I’m pretty proud of it. Obviously, I’m not the one throwing the pitches, but five in a row is pretty sweet.”
Casali and Buster Posey have held the Giants’ pitching rotation to a 2.93 ERA, which is currently the fourth-lowest in the Majors.
Manager Gabe Kapler joked during the post-game conference that, “tomorrow is a tough decision between the best catcher in Giants history and the guy who is certain to catch a shutout.” Although Kapler has had his struggles with this Giants team between last season and what we have seen so far in 2021, his first full season, accomplishments like that of Casali’s seem to be helping ground Kapler in having faith in his team and figuring out how to use players for the common goal of winning.
The Giants acquired Casali from the Cincinnati Reds this past offseason, knowing 2021 would bring back Posey after he opted-out for the season in 2020, and amid concerns on catcher Joey Bart, who was sent back down to the minors after struggling during his Major League debut in 2020.
Casali was a perfect fit for what the Giants were looking for: a veteran catcher to help take the pressure off of Posey, someone who still brings an amount of offensive power to the lineup with a .366 OBP and .500 slugging percentage in the 2020 season. Not to mention, he also had a long-standing relationship with several Giants players over the years.
There is much to be positive about with Casali and the energy these exciting history-making stats bring to the clubhouse — and we will have to see if Casali keeps the record going during his next start. No pressure.