video thumbnail

OAK@CLE: Kazmir sits down 10 over six innings

When the Cleveland Indians play the Philadelphia Phillies in the first game of an Interleague series at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night, fans will get to see the startling resurgence of one career and the continuation of the hopeful beginning of another.

For the Indians, who had their three-game winning streak snapped in the second game of Monday's doubleheader against the Yankees, all eyes will be on starter Scott Kazmir on Tuesday. Kazmir seemed to be on his way out of baseball just a few years ago until rediscovering the lightning in his left arm, making the Tribe out of Spring Training, returning from an injury and dazzling hitters in his last start.

For the Phillies, young right-hander Jonathan Pettibone will take the mound and try to do what he's been doing: filling in for injured starter Roy Halladay and opening some eyes with effective and efficient rookie work.

Kazmir wasn't just good in his last outing. He was stunning. He hit 95 mph on the radar gun and went six innings, earning a win over the A's while giving up one run on five hits and striking out a season-high 10 batters. He did not issue a walk.

It was Kazmir's first double-digit strikeout game since Aug. 26, 2009, his last game for the Tampa Bay Rays. It was also his first 10-strikeout game with no walks since May 26, 2008.

"I just feel comfortable, and I feel confident out there," Kazmir said. "And I feel like it's going to get better and better."

Pettibone, meanwhile, is doing exactly what he needs to do to stay in the big leagues -- making the most of an opportunity.

Pettibone wasn't great in his last start against the Giants in San Francisco last Wednesday. He took a no-decision in a game the Phillies would eventually lose, but he kept his team in the game on a day in which he didn't bring his best stuff to the mound.

His final line was three earned runs on seven hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings, but the fact that his ERA went up and is still at 3.63 means he's proving he belongs at this level.

"Kind of each time out, you get more and more comfortable," Pettibone said. "Your confidence gets up each time out. You just kind of build off that. From there, I don't really know what's going to happen. All you can do is focus start to start and go from there."

Indians: Clutch in one-run games
• Cleveland continued its trend of winning close games on Monday, taking the first contest of its doubleheader against the Yankees by a score of 1-0. With the victory, each of the Indians' last three wins have come by exactly one run.

The Indians are 10-3 overall in one-run games this season, including 6-0 in their last six such affairs. The Tribe was 24-12 in one-run games last season, the second-best winning percentage in baseball behind only Baltimore (29-9).

• Closer Chris Perez's 105 career saves are third most in club history (Doug Jones is second with 129 saves).

Phillies: Magical in May
• The Phillies are 6-6 this May, but the club has posted a record of .500 or better in the month for the past 10 seasons, with their last sub-.500 record in May coming in 2002, when they went 12-14. Philadelphia has won at least 15 games in May in each of the last nine seasons and their overall record in that span through Sunday, 152-115 (.569), is second-best among all Major League clubs to Boston (157-112, .584 through Saturday).

• Shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Chase Utley have started 992 games together as a double-play combination, which is second-most among active combos behind the Yankees' Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano (1,036 games).

• Michael Young has grounded into 10 double plays this season, most in the Majors. Last year, the Phillies grounded into 114 double plays, tied for sixth in the National League and tied for 15th in the Majors.

Worth noting
• Phillies reliever Phillippe Aumont has allowed an earned run in only one (April 25 vs. Pittsburgh) of his 13 appearances this season.

• Phillies slugger Ryan Howard is hitless in nine career plate appearances against Kazmir, striking out four times and drawing two walks.

MLB.com Comments