Angels pitcher Scott Kazmir didn’t last two innings in his season debut Sunday, casting serious doubt about his ability to make positive contributions to the team this season. Pitching against the Royals where winds were blowing out at up to 44 mph, Kazmir gave up five runs, five hits, two walks, and hit two batters in one and two-thirds innings. Luckily the Angels rallied to take the lead so he ended up without a decision, but he put the Angels in a serious hole to start the game.
Kazmir allowed two runs in the first and three in the second. He got two flyouts to start the second, but then he allowed a solo home run to Melky Cabrera, a double to Alex Gordon, hit Billy Butler, and a two-run double to Kila Ka’aihue before he was finally pulled. Anyone can get roughed up in their season debut — just ask Fausto Carmona — but the poor outing continues a trend that began last year and was evident throughout spring training.
Kazmir went 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA last year, his first full season with the Angels. He struggled during spring training, posting a 6.65 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. His velocity has been down in the 80s mostly whereas when he had success with Tampa, he used to be in the 90s routinely, making it much tougher to get batters out.
I’m not advocating for a player to be cut after one start, I’m simply pointing out that this is a pattern for Kazmir and he’s turning out to be a bust with the Angels. I supported the trade when Tony Reagins acquired him in a trade in 2009, and it appears as if Kazmir has just lost his fastball. The reality is that if the Angels plan to compete for the AL West title, they won’t be able to keep running out a pitcher with a six ERA every 5th day. Then again, after having the bullpen blow three straight games to the Royals, they may have many other problems that are of concern.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Orlin Wagner