The Los Angeles Dodgers showed some fight — both literally and figuratively — in their 8-6 loss Friday night to the Milwaukee Brewers in the first of a seven-game homestand.
The Dodgers battled back from multiple three-run deficits, Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner got into an argument, and the bases were left loaded in the ninth inning. Beyond that, it was another start complete with a shaky first inning for Scott Kazmir.
He opened the game with a strikeout, then allowed a base hit to Aaron Hill and walked Ryan Braun. Justin Lucory nearly kept a ball down the left field line fair for a three-run home run, but wound up popping out.
Chris Carter struck out swinging and while Kazmir got out of a scoreless first inning, it came at an expense — 27 pitches. “There’s something with that first inning that we have to figure out,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the loss.
“If you look back at his starts that first inning has given him problems, whether it’s runs scored or getting his pitch count up.” Kazmir has a 7.07 first-inning ERA this season, which is drastically higher than his 3.76 career ERA in the first inning.
What’s more, opponents are batting .333/.408/.429 in the first inning this season. In line with what’s been the case this season, Kazmir settled in after the opening frame. That was until he threw 30 pitches and allowed three runs in the third inning.
He struck out the side in the fourth but was removed at that point, having thrown 93 pitches. Kazmir understandably put the loss on his shoulders. “It’s on me, I put my team in a bad hole. Needing the bullpen to cover five innings is never good,” he said.
“Not getting ahead of hitters and 20-something foul balls will do it. I could’ve minimized the damage with making quality pitches with runners were in scoring position. A short outing is disappointing.”
In his two starts prior to facing the Brewers, Kazmir allowed two runs to the San Francisco Giants and the Atlanta Braves in the first inning. He dismissed the notion of a physical issue being the reason behind his troubles early in games and saw some optimism in Thursday’s outing.
“I felt good out there, felt like I had a good fastball. I just wasn’t able to get ahead of hitters to use my secondary pitches,” Kazmir said. “The name of the game is getting ahead of hitters, and I didn’t do that.”