Before the waiver deadline last month, the Angels were hoping to find an arm somewhere in the MLB that could help solidify a struggling Angels rotation.
Scott Kazmir, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays, turned out to be that guy, despite having a rough year up until the time of him changing scenery.
Don’t look too deeply into the new hurler’s 0-1 record with the Angels after 2 starts, the record misleads Kazmir’s contributions completely.
He’s faced one of the American League’s best pitchers and a potential Cy Young award-winner in Félix Hernández in both of his starts (14-5 record, 2.61 ERA), and has received virtually no run support in return (offense has produced 3 total runs in his 2 starts).
Here are Kaz’s numbers for his first two starts in Halo red:
September 2nd @ Seattle – 6.1 innings/3 hits/2 runs (1 earned)/1 walk/8 strikeouts (loss – 3-0 final)
September 8th vs. Seattle – 7 innings/3 hits/1 earned run/2 walks/4 strikeouts (no decision – 3-2 final)
His numbers combined through his first 2 starts are:
13 1/3 innings pitched, 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
He has now gone 6 or more innings in 10 of his last 11 starts.
He has allowed 1 earned run in each of his last 3 starts (best streak of the season).
Despite a rough first few months for the 25-year-old Kazmir, he’s apparently saved his best baseball for when it matters most… crunch time.
It looks like Kazmir seems rejuvenated to be pitching with a contender since the Rays have fallen off in the past few weeks, and you have to love the composure he brought in his first start.
After an error, a walk, and a hit batter (Kazmir’s first 3 batters he faced as an Angel), it seemed like the Angels made an awful decision to bring him in… at first glance.
How would he respond?
3 straight strikeouts to end the inning. No runs. No damage done. Inning over. Whew!
And he’s been sensational ever since. His walk-to-strikeout ratio has been outstanding. His control has been great. And he seems to have garnered a new sense of self-confidence that he hasn’t had since the Rays made their improbable run to the World Series just a year ago.
For better or worse, pitching is contagious. For a decent portion of the year, pitching has been unfavorably contagious for the Angels’ rotation as well as their bullpen.
Now that September has rolled around, and Kazmir has injected a little bit of new life into this Halo rotation, I’m hoping his positive starts can continue to influence Jered Weaver (14 wins entering tonight’s start), Joe Saunders (3 straight wins), John Lackey (17 innings, 1 earned run in last 2 starts), and most importantly Ervin Santana (5 straight starts of 3 or fewer earned runs until his last start).
Hopefully, the best from this Angels rotation is yet to come.