Fenway doesn't faze Kazmir
Halos' Game 3 starter eyes continued success in Boston
ANAHEIM -- Fenway Park can be a daunting place for left-handed pitchers.The Green Monster left-field wall sits just over 300 feet from home plate down the line and makes an inviting target for slugging right-handed hitters. Some of the best left-handed pitchers in history have had more than their share of problems.
From 1954-65, Yankees Hall of Famer Whitey Ford was 6-6 with a 5.25 ERA in 11 starts and four relief appearances at Fenway. Manager Casey Stengel used to alter his rotation so that Ford could avoid pitching at Fenway.The Angels don't worry about that with Scott Kazmir. When manager Mike Scioscia sends Kazmir to the mound to face the Red Sox in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Sunday, he'll be sending out one of the most successful left-handers to have ever pitched at Fenway. Kazmir, who was acquired by the Angels on Aug. 28 from the Tampa Bay Rays, has made 13 starts in his career at Fenway and is 6-4 with a 3.05 ERA there. Since 1954, that's the second-lowest ERA among the 48 left-handed pitchers who have made 10 or more starts at the Red Sox home park. Only Sam McDowell, at 2.67, had a lower ERA. "If there's one thing I could point to for my success, I'd just say I'm able to mix up my pitches and get good defense behind me, and just try to put up some zeros," Kazmir said. "But this is the type of team you can't take lightly. You can have a couple of good starts against them and the next thing you know, they'll go out and punish you. They have a highly-potent offense. They're not going to go down without a fight." "Early in his career, he actually dominated us," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He threw some games where he overpowered us; fastball, slider. We've had some games where we've really made him work hard also. Some of the numbers you see are from early in his career when he just overwhelmed us."
|2009 REGULAR SEASON|
|Overall||26 GS, 10-9, 4.89 ERA, 60 BB, 117 K||16 GS, 7-4, 4.21 ERA, 36 BB, 68 K|
|Key stat||9.31 SO/9 career||.325 OBA|
|Career||5 GS, 1-1, 4.21||No record|
|AT FENWAY PARK|
|2009||2 GS 2-0, 3.27 ERA||8 GS, 2-2. 4.72|
|Career||13 GS, 6-4, 3.05 ERA||16 G, 15 GS, 6-4, 3.90|
|AGAINST THIS OPPONENT|
|2009 regular season||2 GS 2-0, 3.27 ERA||No record|
|Career||23 GS 8-7, 3.59 ERA||3 GS, 1-2, 6.35|
|Loves to face||David Ortiz (9-for-44, 11 K)||Juan Rivera (0-for-5, 2K, 0 BB)|
|Hates to face||Dustin Pedroia (15-for-29, .517)||Vladimir Guerrero (4-for-9, 2 RBI)|
|Why he'll win||He has a 1.73 ERA in six starts for Angels||Nine quality starts in last 12 outings|
|Pitcher beware||Pitching for 1st time in 8 days||Allowed 6 runs in 3 IP 10/4 vs. CLE|
|Bottom line||For a lefty, he pitches well in Fenway||How will he handle first playoff start?|
Kazmir goes to Fenway with two tough acts to follow. Angels starters John Lackey and Jered Weaver combined to allow one run in 14 2/3 innings in the first two games in Anaheim.
The Angels are now up 2-0 in the series, and Kazmir said he benefits in other ways from following Lackey and Weaver.
"You just see how Weaver and Lackey pitched those guys," Kazmir said. "They really attacked the zone and used every one of their pitches. You just get a good idea for all their hitters, so it really helped out."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.