Round 2 for Kickham

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The Giants placed Chad Gaudin on the DL yesterday, as his banged-up elbow just wasn’t ready to go for tonight’s start in LA. Gaudin’s injury is another bummer for the Giants, but it is good news for one person: Mike Kickham.

Kickham was recalled from AAA Fresno for the second time this season after pitching all of 2.1 innings in Oakland in his MLB debut last month. He’ll start tonight against Stephen Fife, and likely again in homer-friendly Cincinnati next week. The 24-year old lefty is looking to show a little more this time, and honestly, he may very well be pitching for a spot in the rotation going forward.

I made a joke in a previous post about Kickham “looking good while he missed pitches off the outside corner” in his previous start. But really, I did think he showed flashes of electric stuff, especially with his sweeping slider. The A’s have a solid lineup, Kickham was obviously trying to be careful, and the Giants had a very short leash with him in his debut. He’s got swing-and-miss stuff, and if he can show a bit more confidence and locate his fastball this time around, he should pitch deeper into the game. 

I don’t think the Giants would be too upset if Kickham showed enough improvement to send Gaudin back to his spot in the bullpen. That would certainly solve one nagging team issue. So, for Mike Kickham, audition number 2 has come. Show us what you’ve got, kid.

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4 thoughts on “Round 2 for Kickham”

  1. Kickham has shown good stuff in the minors, so hopefully he can show it in the majors going forward. His first couple of innings showed what he could do up here, but he just lost it once the hits started coming, and he had to pitch out of the stretch. I think that got him too amped up at that point – and he was already amped up because it was his first start – and he just lost control of his pitches.

    In recent interviews, he has taken a positive view of all his struggles and feels that they are helping to prepare him, so we will see today.

    Go Mike!

  2. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! I’ll tell you, I am really excited about what Kickham can do if he settles in. He’s got really good movement on his pitches…but did it seem to you like he didnt really know how to harness that movement? The first impression I got was his makeup is similar to Johnathan Sanchez. Great movement, good velocity, but has a tough time controlling it. He either gets the swing-through or misses the zone altogether. Sanchez always made it harder on himself with walks and long innings, but he was very productive with us for a time. I think Kickham’s up and down performance in AAA this year could be an indicator of things to come. I hope he proves me wrong!

  3. One other note: I’ve never had this confirmed, but a friend told me before Kickham’s debut that he’d heard on KNBR that he (Kickham) was a major headcase in the minor leagues, and had a reputation for lashing out at coaches, umpires, teammates… like I said, I haven’t seen that anywhere else, but if it were true, it makes me worry about his ability to overcome control issues. Just a thought.

  4. Well, he’s looked like a big leaguer tonight! Even made Puig look silly on a back-foot slider. This is the Kickham I’d like to see again!

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