Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rays starting Kazmir a mistake

Sure, it's easy to second-guess a manager's decision after the fact.

But here's one before hand. Call it 20/20 foresight:

Starting Scott Kazmir is a mistake for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Rays manager decided to roll the dice with Game 2 starter Kazmir in Game 5 against the Red Sox, in a game the Rays could clinch their first World Series berth.

The reasoning is Kazmir's career numbers (4-4 with a 3.02 ) at Fenway have been much better than those of James Sheilds (0-3, 10.13).

But when you look at Kazmir's most recent success against Boston it's a no-brainer to use Shields. Kazmir gave up 5 ER in 4 1/3 innings in Game 2, not to mention the 9 ER in 3 IP he served up to Boston on Sept. 15 show he could be just what the slumping Red Sox need.

Shields has been their rock all year and the Rays should go for the knockout punch while they can.

Thanks to TV, there's a day off between Games 4 and 5, which gives Kazmir the proper rest (four days) that makes this decision appealing.

But Madden shouldn't try to outsmart himself.

This is just the sort of decision that may rally Boston and inspire a Game 5 win. A 3-1 lead seems like a done deal.

Just ask the Cubs how that worked out in 2003.


DB said...

Actually the main basis for starting Kazmir in Game 5 is to avoid an umpire he's had problems with in the past. If the Rays lost Game 5 with Shields, then Kazmir would have to pitch against his least favorite ump in Game 6. But you're right, this decision is probably a mistake. The Rays are in no position to be planning beyond Game 5, they need to finish the Red Sox now. Forget the Cubs in '03, the Red Sox came back from 3-1 against Cleveland last year. And of course, 3-0 vs. NYY in '04. You can't give this team even a flicker of hope.