{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

{"content":["top_pitching_performances" ] }

Kazmir shows dominant velocity in Thursday's gem

|
Kazmir shows dominant velocity in Thursday's gem play video for Kazmir shows dominant velocity in Thursday's gem

DETROIT -- For six innings on Thursday, Scott Kazmir showed that he once again has the potential to be a dominant pitcher in the big leagues. For three pitches, the Indians left-hander looked like the overpowering ace he was for the Rays a few years ago.

After yielding a home run to Josh Donaldson, an angered Kazmir reached back and struck out Lou Montz on three pitches. Those three pitches registered at 95, 96 and 95 mph for the lefty.

"That was pretty good," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said with a grin. "We went back and looked at it. He hadn't hit 95 or 96 since 2009."

Kazmir's return to the Major League stage has been well-documented. He was one of the American League's elite lefties with Tampa Bay before health and mechanical issues led to his release by the Angels in 2011. Kazmir spent last summer pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters in Independent ball, focusing on fine-tuning his delivery.

Cleveland signed him to a Minor League contract over the winter and -- after a solid showing in the spring -- named him the fifth starter.

During Thursday's win over Oakland, Kazmir turned in six innings, holding the A's to one run on five hits an ending the afternoon with 10 strikeouts and no walks. Kazmir has won back-to-back starts for the first time since June 2010, he struck out 10 for the first time since '09 and had double-digit strikeouts with no walks for the first time since May 2008.

"He's gotten better -- considerably better -- every outing he's been out there," Callaway said. "From the first of Spring Training to now, it's been unbelievable. He's probably gaining all this confidence and all of a sudden, something's going to click and he'll be right where he was."

Heading into Friday's games, hitters made contact with pitches in the strike zone only 78 percent of the time against Kazmir, according to fangraphs.com. Only Texas starter Yu Darvish (74 percent) had a better rate. Just behind Kazmir in that category are R.A. Dickey, Max Scherzer and Matt Harvey (each at 79 percent).

Kazmir was averaging 91.3 mph on his fastball, which is a tick under the 91.7 mph average he registered in 2008.

In the sixth inning on Thursday, Kazmir showed he has some gas left in the tank.

"Those were some angry throws right there after that home run," Kazmir said. "I feel like a light bulb went off with how I was throwing it, how I was behind the ball and getting through it. Hopefully I'll keep it going."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["top_pitching_performances" ] }
{"content":["top_pitching_performances" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español