It appears that Scott Kazmir has reached a crossroads in the 2010 season.
Unfortunately, this time around, all the positives have turned into disappointment for management, the fans, and undoubtedly, himself.
After four starts in mid-June, he went 4-0 with a 2.34 ERA. All signs pointed to a return to the Kazmir of old.
Since his June 24 start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, those numbers have taken an ugly nosedive.
In his four starts since then, Kazmir has gone 0-4 and he has given up 30 runs in fewer than 20 innings; more specifically, he has an ERA of 13.73.
More disturbing was Kazmir’s last start on July 10, against the light-hitting Oakland Athletics.
Kazmir’s line: 5 innings pitched, 11 hits, 13 runs, 13 earned runs, 3 HR, 3 BB, 2 SO
If that does not destroy one’s confidence, I just read in an article on the Los Angeles Times website that 13 earned runs is the most ever given up by a starter in the club’s history.
Midway through 2010, his fastball is a averaging a touch over 90 mph (90.5), yet there is still a concern at how much he is throwing it.
His fastball is being thrown more than 70 percent of the time, while his slider, thrown sparingly (12.7 percent), has also seen a reduction in velocity, down four mph since 2006.
Whether it is the velocity, the pitch type, or a combination of both, it is now a legitimate possibly that Kazmir could lose not only his spot in the rotation, but also his roster spot with the Angels.
With the All-Star Game on the horizon, Kazmir and the second-place Angels have some time to regroup, relax, and possibly come up with a contingency plan.
Could the bullpen be a solution, maybe a lefty specialist in the late innings?
It is an idea, but upon inspection, lefty specialist may not be in the cards. Against lefties this year, Kazmir has only three strikeouts, and has given up 23 hits in 17 innings.
To make matters worse, a .319 average against does not help his cause.
It will be interesting to see what does happen after the All-Star break, but after this recent string of appearances, I am unsure of how many more times the Angels can afford to let Kazmir hit the field until a suitable solution can be found.
This article can also be found on The GM's Perspective