The Scott Kazmir San Francisco Giants Experience in 2021 was, as far as an “experience” goes, a little all over the place.
On the one hand, it’s undeniably a feel-good story: A 37 year old journeyman, three time All Star, one time World Series starter, signing a minor league deal after going AWOL for five seasons, before getting called up to the Major Leagues to start meaningful games in September for a team in the heat of a division race.
I’d go and watch that movie. Or, I don’t know–I might not pay 20 bucks to see it at The Lot, but I’d probably stream it on Disney+ with my dad over the holiday break.
On the other hand, it was not an all-together totally flawless, fist-pumping triumphant return to the big leagues that are prerequisites in most feel-good stories. Check out Kazmir’s ERA (6.35), or his WHIP (1.85). Those aren’t good numbers. He started four games with five total appearances and pitched only 11.1 innings.
After making three appearances in May and June, he was designated for assignment and sent back to Triple-A. He came back to San Francisco in September, started two games, his second being disastrous in which he gave up three runs on three hits and two walks, only recorded one out and strained his hamstring covering first. (Note: the Giants ended up winning this game). (Another Note: the Giants were 4-1 in games Kazmir pitched in).
Scott Kazmir has been taken out of the game after injuring himself while covering first base pic.twitter.com/rkoEdCa8Yd— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) October 1, 2021
He exited that game on September 30th and I jokingly texted my friend And they never saw Scott Kazmir again… I was kind of right. Kazmir didn’t make another appearance for the rest of the regular season or the postseason. I saw him in the dugout a couple of times, he suited up for the Division Series. A month later, he elected free agency.
Who knows if we’ll see Scott Kazmir again. He might be a Giant again because why not?
Or maybe five years from now, after he’s long fallen off our cognitive maps, he’ll reappear…maybe as the pitching coach for the Colorado Rockies and, when they first come into town, Kruk & Kuip will go on a small tangent about Kazmir’s time as a Giant in 2021. They’ll touch on the highlights: winning a silver medal in the Olympics, coming back out of “retirement”, his grit, his veteran presence in the clubhouse. They might mention his September start in which he pitched four innings against the San Diego Padres, allowing just one unearned run, in a game the Giants went on to win and lengthened their NL West lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers to two (!) games.
The Giants won their 99th game of the season last night with Scott Kazmir starting, Camilo Doval throwing the most important pitches, and Kris Bryant and LaMonte Wade Jr. combining to drive in 5 runs.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) September 23, 2021
Just like we all knew back in April. (*No we didn't.)
Yes, a stellar four innings is not much to hang your hat on when making a case to pitch in the Majors. Out of the 1,458 a team is guaranteed to play, four innings is .00274 percent. Again, not a lot. But in this Scott Kazmir player review we aren’t focusing on soulless and cold numbers. We are making mountains out of mole-hills! We are praising the little things, the seemingly minuscule moments that contributed to a monumental 107-win whole.
Sure, it could’ve been anybody to take the mound on September 22nd and scratch out a start like that–but it wasn’t. It was Scott Kazmir.