San Francisco Giants: Why Sending Down Michael Kickham Will Backfire on Them

4 of 5

Other Options

Mar 19, 2013; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Shane Loux (78) looks to get the ball from the catcher after giving up a solo home run during the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Bochy was considering calling up Shane Loux, Chris Heston and Kickham for Tuesday’s start, but it’s possible that none of those three pitchers will start on Sunday in St. Louis.

Chad Gaudin pitched three innings in relief of Kickham, which kept the Giants in the game. Gaudin has proven time and time again that he is the best option to replace Vogelsong, as he has posted a tremendous 2.05 ERA this year.

Unfortunately for Gaudin, he likely won’t be able to start for the duration of Vogelsong’s absence with the lack of depth in the bullpen. The Giants don’t have anyone else to fill the long reliever role, which the Giants will need with the inconsistency of the rotation.

Kickham could still start if another player gets placed on the DL, and center fielder Angel Pagan is a candidate. If Pagan does get placed on the 15-day DL, Kickham will likely make another start. If not, Gaudin will likely take the ball.

Bochy said Gaudin will likely start on Sunday, but unless the Giants add another long reliever, he’s unlikely to assume the fifth spot in the rotation. If Gaudin doesn’t start on Sunday or if he starts on Sunday but doesn’t take the job permanently, Loux will likely take the job.

Loux fired a complete game three-hitter on Monday night, and he has experience pitching in the MLB. While his ERA is 4.09, his record is 5-2 and opponents are hitting just .223 off of him.

Loux has only struck out 17 batters in 50.2 innings (about one strikeout per three innings), but opponents’ BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is a mind-boggling .237. This does suggest that Loux has been a bit lucky, but if opponents are hitting .237 off of you when they put the ball in play, you have to be something right.

While Loux has been inconsistent, he has the potential to be dominant. However, it’s hard to hand someone with a -1.7 wins over replacement (WAR) and a 5.94 ERA over the course of their career the ball for two months.

On the flip side, the Giants can’t keep going through starters, and if Loux does start one game, he’ll likely stay.

Loux won’t be threatened by Heston, who was torched in spring training and has posted a horrendous 5.63 ERA with Triple-A Fresno. If the Giants do decide to go with a hurler from the farm system, it’s likely not going to be Heston.

He isn’t quite ready for the majors, and other pitchers have thrown the ball better. However, none have been great, and none of the options have Giants fans buzzing. Kickham may not have been great in his debut, but it’s hard to say anyone will fare better.