Lefty Scott Kazmir dazzled in his Astros debut on Friday night, tossing seven scoreless innings against the Royals, the American League’s best team by record. He gave up three hits and a walk while striking out three on 91 pitches in a 4-0 victory.
The Astros acquired Kazmir on Thursday in exchange for pitcher Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham, both minor leaguers.
Kazmir slots in nicely behind Dallas Keuchel, giving the Astros a nice 1-2 punch. He entered Friday’s start with a 2.38 ERA and a 101/35 K/BB ratio over 109 2/3 innings spanning 18 starts. It’s a stunning career turnaround, considering Kazmir was playing in the Atlantic League with the Sugar Land Skeeters in 2012.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.
According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.