A player’s major league debut is something they dream about ever since their days in Little League. On Tuesday night, that dream turned into a nightmare for Mike Kickham of the San Francisco Giants. The Oakland Athletics greeted the 24-year-old lefty rudely by touching him up for four hits, four walks and four runs in just 2 1/3 innings pitched.
Kickham was called up to take the place of the injured Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation. Unfortunately for Giants fans, he happened to pitch like the struggling Vogelsong too who had an earned-run average over 7.00 before hitting the disabled list.
Of course, one start does not usually make a career, especially when you are rated as your team’s fifth best prospect. But it isn’t the start anybody in the organization had in mind. It isn’t good to have the bullpen soak up so many innings when you still have two more tough games against these A’s and then a weekend series with the St. Louis Cardinals. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants sent Kickham down and brought up another pitcher they could use out of the bullpen the next few days.
The Giants will need to improve in the rotation or they can kiss the National League West title goodbye. The team is actually quite lucky they are only 1 1/2 games out of first place with how poorly the rotation has pitched. The only starter that has been as good as advertised is Madison Bumgarner. Matt Cain has a 5.00 ERA, Tim Lincecum is not in Cy Young form, Barry Zito is allowing well over a hit per inning, and we already talked about Vogelsong.
In their 2010 and 2012 World Series runs, the Giants were all about the pitching. This year, the Giants may need to find a different formula if they plan on repeating as champions.