Signed to a three-year, $48 million contract and viewed as one of the starting pitchers responsible for offsetting the loss of Zack Greinke, plenty of expectations have been placed on Scott Kazmir’s shoulders.
His tenure with the Dodgers got off to a rocky start, with the southpaw skipping a third Cactus League start in favor of pitching in a B Game on a backfield at Camelback Ranch. Kazmir returned from the tuneup work and showed some signs of improvement.
However, the southpaw has continued to be plagued by inconsistency and hurt by the longball. Monday wasn’t any different as Kazmir saw his first pitch of the game deposited into the right field pavilion by Curtis Granderson for a solo home run.
“At first I’m like, ‘You have to be kidding me,’ Kazmir said of the leadoff home run. “I honestly didn’t think he got that good of wood on it. After that, you have to concentrate on not letting it get out of hand.”
The Mets tagged Kazmir for a second solo homer, and he allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in 5.2 innings pitched. Kazmir did record six strikeouts, making it a third consecutive start he’s tallied at least that many punchouts.
“I’m definitely getting punished on my mistakes,” Kazmir said. “All in all, I have to take all the positives I can out of this to keep getting better. There are a lot of things I can take out of it, and definitely some things I can just forget about and move forward. Just have to keep on going.”
Kazmir was pleased with his cutter and changeup, and believes he’s honing in on righting the ship. “I feel like I’m really close to getting where I want to be,” Kazmir said. “I don’t want to look too far into the past of what happened. I feel confident out there, I know exactly what I’m doing. It’s just a matter of executing.”
A.J. Ellis corroborated that sentiment, pointing to Kazmir’s success when he manages to locate pitches. Dating back to Spring Training, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has been steadfast with his confidence in Kazmir. The rookie skipper backed the 32 year old after another subpar outing.
“I thought Kaz was good. The stuff again was really good,” Roberts said. “It just seems every mistake he makes goes out of the ballpark. … He’s a little snake bit. It’s just important for him to keep his confidence, because he’s throwing the baseball well.”
Kazmir on the season is 2-3 with a 5.54 ERA, 5.56 FIP and 1.42 WHIP in seven starts. He’s allowed nine home runs over 37.1 innings pitched, and has 36 strikeouts to 12 walks.