Dodgers News: Scott Kazmir’s Fine-Tuning Results In Dominant Start Against Reds
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angels Dodgers bookended their three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds with dominant outings from two left-handers in their rotation. One was largely predictable, while the other came as a pleasant surprise.

On Monday, Clayton Kershaw threw his third complete-game shutout of the month, which was certainly needed on the night after the Dodgers outlasted the San Diego Padres in 17 innings. Kazmir then did his part on Wednesday to end the quick homestand on a high note and extend the Dodgers’ winning streak to a season-high four games.

“Six innings and 12 strikeouts, he was really dominant,” manager Dave Roberts said after his club’s 3-1 victory. “We needed him to rebound and he did just that.” Kazmir was coming off a rough start in which he issued a season-high seven walks; he also hit a batter.

The 32-year-old southpaw allowed five runs on three hits — two of which were home runs — over 5.2 innings pitched. It was the third time this season Kazmir walked at least four batters in a start.

The poor showing gave Kazmir plenty to focus on before his next turn in the rotation. “To be able to bounce back after that rough outing was big,” he said. “Seven walks was something I really wanted to clean up going into my bullpen session and the game. All-in-all it was a good start.”

Kazmir then provide additional information on his between-starts work: “To be a little more crisp with my delivery and staying within myself. There are a lot of boring things that go with mechanics. It was something where everything was moving toward the plate. That’s the main thing I was working on.”

Despite the end result(s) not suggesting it was true, Kazmir maintained over the past few weeks he was closing in on finding his stride. An effective fastball made that all the easier on Wednesday night.

“The rhythm is getting a lot better with all my pitches. Once I have the fastball and I’m able to locate it, I can throw all my pitches off of it,” Kazmir said. “That’s the key, having fastball command, and everything else will be fine.”

Along with working on his delivery, Kazmir also took to some light swinging of a bat. “In between starts we did soft toss and changing grips,” he said. “Just getting more and more comfortable.

A nagging left wrist/thumb injury essentially rendered Kazmir a statue at the plate in non-sacrifice situations. The adjustment from pitching in the American League to the National League took an early toll on him.

Kazmir did take a feeble swing against the Reds, but stopped short of calling it as much. “It was more like a backhanded tennis shot. It definitely wasn’t a swing, that’s for sure,” Kazmir said. “We’re not there yet.”