Somewhat lost in the Cleveland Indians’ impressive run to the 2013 postseason was the outstanding pitching by starting pitcher Scott Kazmir over the course of the second half. To wit: the veteran left-handed starter posted a 3.38 ERA and a 10.3 K/9 mark in 13 second half starts.
It was a significant loss, then, when Kazmir signed with the Oakland A’s this off-season. On Wednesday Kazmir made his A’s debut and, fittingly enough, it came against his former team. Kazmir sparkled for his new team, going 7 1/3 innings while allowing no runs, striking out five and allowing no walks. Asked afterwards, Kazmir said he was “very pleased” with the way he started his season.
The addition of Kazmir obviously could be key for the A’s, especially considering the fact that they lost Jarrod Parker for the year to a second Tommy John surgery. But more importantly this is just a great story for baseball. Once a top pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, Kazmir’s career started to derail in 2010. That season he made 28 starts for the Los Angeles Angels but struggled to the tune of a 5.94 ERA in 150 innings. He then made only one start in 2011 before being out of baseball for the entire 2012 season.
That he is back at all is a nice story. That he stands to be a key player on a playoff team for the second season in a row is even better, especially for Oakland fans.