Yes, Mike Kickham is still scheduled to be on the mound Thursday for the Fresno Grizzlies in their 7:05 p.m. series finale against the Oklahoma City RedHawks at Chukchansi Park.
But next week, who knows.
The 24-year-old left-hander is a leading candidate to fill the vacancy in the San Francisco Giants’ starting rotation created by Ryan Vogelsong’s broken pinky.
After tonight, Kickham’s next scheduled start would be Tuesday. Interestingly, that’s the same day the Giants will need another starter. So that part fits.
Also, Kickham has been pitching well lately. After a rocky April in which he struggled to throw his 93-94 mph fastball for strikes, Kickham has produced four straight quality starts.
Earlier this week in the Grizzlies clubhouse, I asked Kickham if Thursday’s start would come with any extra pressure. He seemed genuinely nonplussed.
“You always want to think about yourself pitching in the majors and you go out there every start to showcase what you’ve got,” Kickham said. “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and not let some situation get in my head.”
Here are some facts and figures, courtesy of Grizzlies PR man extraordinaire Chris Kutz:
*** Over his last 4 starts, Kickham is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 25 strikeouts against 6 walks.
*** His 50 strikeouts this season are tied for 5th in the Pacific Coast League.
*** His has won two straight starts. He has never won three consecutive starts in his career.
Kickham began the season as the No. 5 rated prospect in the Giants’ farm system, according to Baseball America. His opponent tonight, RH Jarred Cosart, is No. 7 in the Houston Astros chain. So it’s a good matchup tonight at The Chuk.