Giants unlikely to make immediate rotation changes

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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.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.