San Francisco Giants

A’s go for series win against Philadelphia behind Kazmir

A’s left-hander Scott Kazmir didn’t sugar coat his postgame comments after his outing five days ago against Texas, when he was the losing pitcher in a sloppy 6-3 defeat.

Kazmir exited after 4 1/3 innings having allowed six runs – four earned – on nine hits, and reportedly said of the A’s overall effort: “That was a game that just doesn’t happen in September when you’re in a pennant race. You just don’t play like that.”

Kazmir retakes the mound for the first time Sunday in the series finale against Philadelphia, with the A’s coming off a shutout loss but still with a chance to win the series. They need more offense than they showed Saturday, of course, but a strong outing by Kazmir would help. Manager Bob Melvin said he expects Kazmir is itching to pitch again after the way his last start went.

“I mean, everybody’s frustrated at this point, and some guys show it a little bit more than others,” Melvin said. “He works awfully hard, and he wants to do well, and he wants our season to continue.

“So he’s a pretty motivated guy out there, and sometimes his emotions – he wears them on his sleeve some. But his preparation, his desire to go out there the next time, is the same every time.”

Since the end of July, when Kazmir was 12-3 with a 2.37 ERA, he has won just two of his last nine starts and his ERA has risen to 3.44. In his last five starts, he’s 0-4 with an 8.22 ERA, and opponents are batting .298 against him. So, with two starts left before a potential playoff series for the A’s, now is the time for Kazmir to right the ship.

The A’s lineup behind Kazmir today:

CF Crisp

1B Vogt

3B Donaldson

DH Dunn

LF Moss

SS Lowrie

RF Reddick

C Soto

2B Sogard

And the Phillies’ lineup behind right-hander A.J. Burnett:

CF Revere

C Ruiz

2B Utley

DH Howard

RF Byrd

LF Sizemore

1B Ruf

3B Asche

SS Galvis

How tough? The A’s have scored a total of 19 runs over their last 10 games. According to the team’s pre-game notes, it’s just the third time in the last 35 years the A’s have scored fewer than 20 runs in a 10-game stretch.