Giants unlikely to make immediate rotation changes


The Giants lost their third game in a row, their fifth loss in their last six games as they went down 5-0 to the Rockies this afternoon. Starter Barry Zito labored into the sixth, allowing five runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings. It marks the sixth consecutive game in which Giants pitching has allowed five or more runs.

As for the starters specifically, Zito allowed eight (five earned) on Tuesday, Ryan Vogelsong allowed eight (three earned) on Wednesday, Matt Cain allowed six runs in 6.1 innings on Thursday, Madison Bumgarner allowed nine in 4.2 innings on Friday, and Tim Lincecum allowed six runs in five innings yesterday. Overall, the Giants’ collective 4.87 rotation ERA is the third-worst in the National League, better than only the Brewers and Padres.

CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly says that the Giants aren’t likely to make any immediate rotation changes. He does suggest keeping an eye on Mike Kickham, a 24-year-old lefty with Triple-A Fresno. While he has a 4.72 ERA in 47.2 innings, Baggarly notes his recent improvement:

He allowed one run (unearned) in six innings while striking out eight Saturday night. He’s 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA over his last four starts, with a 25-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Stuff-wise, Kickham brings a lot more to the table than right-hander Chris Heston, who has a 5.33 ERA through nine starts. A left-hander, Kickham can maintain low 90s velocity and has a pretty good slider.

I wouldn’t expect the Giants to bring up Kickham this week, or anything. Chad Gaudin remains the first option should the Giants decide to give one of their five starters a break.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.