The Houston Astros Should NOT Trade for Scott Kazmir

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Scott Kazmir Has Yet to Become a Clutch Pitcher Down the Stretch

May 27, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Scott Kazmir (26) pitches the ball against the Detroit Tigers during the second inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In Scott Kazmir’s nine-year MLB career, he has been fortunate enough to play on some very good teams. He has been a part of many pushes to the postseason and even pitched in a few postseason games. He pitched in the Tampa Bay Rays 2008 run to the World Series and then pitched for the Los Angeles Angels in the 2009 postseason. He also was a critical arm down the stretch for Oakland last season, but the A’s didn’t really make the postseason (lost to KC in Wild Card Game). Although Kazmir has had the valuable experience, he hasn’t always pitched to his full capability down the stretch.

Let’s take a look at Kazmir’s numbers in the postseason first. In the unbelievable 2008 playoff run that the Rays made, Kazmir started five postseason games and posted a 4.07 ERA while also allowing 26 hits and giving up 18 walks in 25 2/3 innings pitched. He had a 1-1 record in those five games.

Some might say to give Kazmir a pass because that season was his first experience in the postseason. Ok, so let’s look to next year with the Angels. Kazmir posted a 7.60 ERA in 10 2/3 innings pitched. He started one game apiece in the ALDS and ALCS, losing his matchup in the ALCS. So, Scott Kazmir regressed during his second stint in the postseason.

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  • Now others might give him another pass and say that his head wasn’t in the right place, and now after spending some time out of baseball he will have a more focused and clear head in the postseason. Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the postseason since his one-year absence, but let’s check his numbers in the postseason push with Oakland.

    Looking at the 11 starts he made after the trade deadline, Kazmir carried a 2.37 ERA going into his start on August 3, 2014. By his last pitch on September 26, that ERA had risen to 3.55, and the A’s had lost their division lead. When you compare that ERA to his 1st half, the numbers are telling. Kazmir’s ERA never rose above 2.66 before July 31st, so there’s a definite contrast there. The strikeout numbers dropped a little bit as well, as it was common for Kazmir to have a game where he would strike out eight, nine, or 10 batters in the 1st half of the season. In August, Kazmir didn’t go above six Ks in any of his six starts.

    I’m not saying that Scott Kazmir has no potential to be a quality postseason pitcher, but the numbers do reveal some real discrepancies that the Astros might want to consider before pulling the trigger on a rental deal that’s meant to push the team into the postseason, not shut them out.

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