Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kazmir gaining from struggle

OAKLAND, Calif. — It could happen tonight, the moment when Scott Kazmir rediscovers his proper pitching mechanics, finds the missing couple miles an hour on his fastball and takes off on the kind of powerful run he and the Rays are anticipating.

But in the interim, he's becoming a better pitcher.

As he feels his way to the proper delivery that allows him to cut loose, Kazmir has had to be more exact with the location of his pitches, and more resourceful with his repertoire, making more use of the changeup since getting some tips from teammate James Shields.

And going into tonight's start in Oakland with a 2-1 record, 1.69 ERA and a string of 12 scoreless innings in his first three starts since coming off the disabled list, he must be doing something right.

"It seems like it's gonna make me a lot better pitcher, just not having close to the stuff that I want and still getting hitters out," Kazmir said. "I think it's going to be really good for accuracy because right now I've mainly got to hit spots. I fall in and out once in awhile, but for the most part, it feels like I'm throwing the ball where I want to."

The pursuit of proper form can be an inexact and frustrating process for any pitcher; with Kazmir, it's a matter of getting his feet, body and arm all moving the same direction.

"It's not necessarily one thing, it's just my mechanics — getting out there and driving toward the plate instead of just falling off every single time," he said. "I'm not getting that much torque, and it seems like I'm using too much arm right now. I just want to get my whole body into it."

When he is right, he said he doesn't have to concern himself with anything on the mound but his next pitch and not such annoying details as the positioning of his shoulder or the extension of his arm.

"When you've got everything going, your mechanics going, you're not thinking out there," he said. "You're not thinking, 'Okay, I've got to keep my shoulder in just to make this pitch right where I want it.'

"You're thinking, 'I'm going to throw it right through the catcher.' By the time the ball's getting thrown back to you, you already have an idea of what you've got next. That's just the way it is."

For now, he's making do.

"He's pitching with a restrictor plate," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's not wanting to let it go; he just doesn't feel the command when he just lets it go. I know it's frustrating to him, and I also believe he's going to find that feeling on his fingertips.

"That's where it comes from, right there. And once he gets that feeling, he's going to take off again."

That's what happened in the second half last season, when everything clicked and Kazmir went 8-3 with a 2.39 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break.

And that's what he's expecting to happen again.

And sooner than later.

"I can just feel it in every bullpen. It's any start now when it's just going to click," he said. "It's just going to be fun once we get everything together."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

topkin@sptimes.com.

Athletics X

Rays 5

11 innings

Kazmir gaining from struggle 05/19/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 4:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. LSU advances to College World Series finals, awaits Florida or TCU

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Caleb Gilbert held No. 1 national seed Oregon State to two hits in 71/3 innings, Michael Papierski homered from both sides of the plate and LSU beat the Beavers 6-1 on Saturday to reach the College World Series finals.

    Beau Jordan celebrates after hitting a home run during a victory over Oregon State, LSU’s second straight win over the No. 1 national seed.
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …