The hard-throwing left-hander will shoot for his fourth victory in five decisions when the hapless Devil Rays close out a three-game series with the surging Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.
Kazmir was acquired from the New York Mets prior to last year’s trade deadline and thrust into the starting rotation in August. Though the 21-year-old left-hander went 2-3 with a 5.67 ERA in eight appearances, he showed flashes of the brilliance that made him one of the Mets’ most heralded prospects before he was dealt for right-hander Victor Zambrano.
Kazmir has managed just three wins in 16 starts this year, but was deprived of several potential victories due to poor run support, and bad luck. He allowed one run and six hits over 6 1-3 innings Tuesday in a matchup with Toronto ace Roy Halladay, but did not receive a decision in the Devil Rays’ 3-1 loss.
“I just wish I could have been more efficient with my pitches,” said Kazmir, who walked four and threw only 66 of his 113 pitches for strikes.
Kazmir has allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts, going 3-1 during that stretch. He leads the Tampa Bay staff in ERA (4.40), strikeouts (74) and innings (92).
The Devil Rays are still looking for their first win against the Twins this year after Saturday’s 4-1 loss, dropping Tampa Bay to 0-5 against Minnesota.
“We’re playing as good as we can right now,” said Lohse. “We need to keep that going.”
The Twins have won seven in a row from the Devil Rays dating to last year.