Kruk & Kuip: Time for Bochy to make a decision on Kickham
Mike Kickham allowed seven earned runs in 2.2 innings in his third MLB start Monday. (AP)
CINCINNATI – Hal McCoy, the great Hall of Fame baseball writer for the Dayton Daily News, surveyed the Old Testament rain Monday night and mused about when the umpires would come to their senses and call the game.
“When the Delta Queen docks at third base, maybe,” he said.
It almost got to that point. But not quite. Crew chief Fieldin Culbreath’s favorite Old Testament book must be Job, since he displayed almost as much patience for one hour and 28 minutes of steady downpour.
Finally, the phone call was made and the Reds won 8-1 after six completed innings.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Giants blown out, washed out in Cincinnati]
It might have saved the Giants from having to make a roster move. That was two fewer innings of mop-up (squeegee?) work that they didn’t need to coax out of their bullpen.
“Well, you want to play, but with what we’re looking at, it’s coming down harder and flooding out there,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, after his club lost for the seventh time in eight games. “At some point, you’ve got to draw the line. It helps you in the bullpen, but our thinking is that we wanted to play the game.”
With kayaks in the outfield, maybe. Even if they had managed to restart, Mike Kickham’s evening was over and done. His stint with the big league club might be over for now, too.
Kickham had a 1-2-3 first inning, and impressively struck out former MVP Joey Votto on a 3-2 fastball on the outside edge. But the Reds were 9 for 12 against him after that; he got the hook trailing 7-0 with two outs in the third inning, and his ERA is 13.94.
Bochy sees a pitcher who is having trouble when he’s not in the windup.
“In the stretch, he seems to have a tougher time getting the ball where he wants and keeping it down,” Bochy said. “He’s pitching at the thigh area and that’s not going to work. The kid’s got great stuff. This is the growing pains you go through with a young pitcher.”
Kickham spent part of the delay talking with catcher Buster Posey and right-hander Matt Cain. The advice he received: Learn from it, but don’t dwell on it.
“It’s just a matter of making adjustments, fixing some things,” said Kickham, who has held hitters 0 for 9 in the first inning of his three starts but they are 21 for 41 (.512) with four home runs after that. “I can’t let it keep going downhill. Something’s got to change from here.”
He isn’t necessarily trading in his uniform for a Fresno Grizzlies number. Even if Chad Gaudin comes off the DL to replace Kickham on Saturday, and that move would appear obvious now unless GM Brian Sabean does something on the trade market before then, Kickham could stay as a long reliever.
For now, Bochy didn’t expect any roster moves prior to Tuesday’s game.
He could have used some help a little sooner Monday, though. If the rain had come two innings earlier, it would’ve washed out the Reds’ 7-0 lead.
“Well, yeah,” Bochy said. “When the score gets like that, to be honest, any manager would say, `C’mon!’”