Kirkman followed up his last 7 walk outing with a 5 walk outing today. The central problem is that Kirkman is having trouble locating his fastball. He was unable to locate his FB to the outside corner to RHHs and it appeared that the ump was not giving him any borderline calls due to his inconsistency. In addition he was also missing high, and those got pounded for doubles (3 of 5 hits). The one thing that puzzled me for the whole game was that Salty set up outside a majority of time with RHH up even though Kirkman simply couldn't hit that spot. Salty's fault? Not sure. But the failure to get Kirkman to attack hitters inside more clearly added to his problems as hitters simply would not swing at anything outside as the game progressed. As a result, he ran up his pitch count, failed to throw enough first pitch strikes, had a lot of full counts, and walked a number of guys on 3-2 fastballs off the outside corner.
Having said that, Kirkman kept his velo at 92-93 through the fifth inning with both his FB and Slider swing and miss offerings when they were on (4 SOS). I would resist the urge to call up Kirkman as a reliever this year, allow him to work on his FB command and changeup all year, and let him compete for a rotation spot next year. For a lefty, he has 2 above average offerings right now that flash plus, can hold his velo deep into the game, and if he can get his command in order should do fine with a fringe-average to average changeup.
I should also note that Salty had _ZERO_ problems throwing back to the pitcher today, which is interesting given the dour report that came from the OKC beat writer a couple of days ago.