D-Rays 3, Florida 0. One night after winning their second straight game with a walk-off homer, the Rays welcomed back manager Joe Maddon by sweeping the Marlins on Sunday afternoon. This one was a little easier for the Rays as Scott Kazmir continues to dominate all comers. In this latest start, Kazmir pitched 8 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and just 1 walk. He tied his career high of 11 strikeouts. Since Kazmir's opening day loss, he is now 7-1 with a 1.65 ERA. Tyler Walker came on and pitched a 1-2-3 9th to pick up his 8th save in 9 opportunities. The Marlins never really threatened. Only two runners reached second base, and the first one was promptly picked off by Kazmir. Tampa has now won 4 straight and 5 of 6 to raise their record to 20-24 and pull into a tie with the Orioles for 4th in the AL East.
Now we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but if the All-Star game was next week, we have to think that Kazmir would get a lot of consideration from Ozzie Guillen to start the mid-summer classic for the American League. He is tied for the major league lead in wins (7), and he is second in the AL in ERA (2.39) and strikeouts (67). In reality, the only other serious candidate would be the Yankee's Mike Mussina, who is 6-1 with a 2.57 ERA in the same number of starts (10).
So as we approach the second anniversary of the trade that landed Kazmir, let's all take a moment and say thank you to the New York Mets. And if you know a Mets fan, this has been very hard for them so we suggest a gift. We think the gift for 2nd anniversaries is actually a Scott Kazmir jersey or a Jeff Wilpon voodoo doll. Ken Davidoff of Newsday is already calling it the second worst trade in team history after sending Nolan Ryan to the Angels. For those that haven't noticed...Victor Zambrano just had surgery to reconstruct his elbow and is done for the season and now the fear is that his career might be in jeopardy. And if Kazmir starts the All-Star game their pain will only get worse. They get furious everytime Scott does well, and that is just reading a boxscore. We can't even imagine what might happen if they have to actually watch him start the All-Star game and strikeout David Wright and Carlos Delgado. Ouch. We don't think that even a first place Mets team will help their fettucini alfredo stay down any better.
Mets pitching in flux [Baseball For Thought]
Kazmir deal getting worse [newsday]
Victor's elbow reconstructed [newsday]