Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber delivers against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning of a spring exhibition baseball game Monday, March 17, 2014, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Scott Kazmir must wait an extra day to make his Oakland Athletics’ debut against a Cleveland Indians team that gave him the chance to revive his career last season.
After rain postponed Tuesday’s contest, Kazmir takes the mound in the opener of a day-night doubleheader Wednesday in Oakland.
"I was ready to pitch (Tuesday)," Kazmir said following the first rainout in Oakland since May 5, 1998. "You can’t let your guard down. I was ready to go. What can you do? Be ready to go early, that’s all you can do."
Kazmir revived a flagging career by going 10-9 in 29 starts with a 4.04 ERA and 162 strikeouts over 158 innings with Cleveland in 2013. It was his first season in the majors since appearing in one game for the Los Angeles Angels in 2011.
The left-hander spent 2012 toiling in the minors in an effort to come back from a series of injuries and ineffective seasons. He signed a two-year, $22 million deal with Oakland over the winter.
"(The Indians) know me. I know them," Kazmir told the team’s official website. "It’s more of a cat-and-mouse game now. They know my tendencies, and for the most part, I know their tendencies.
"It’s going to be a game of adjustments, I think. It’s going to be fun out there, for sure."
Oakland hopes to bounce back after it was held to five hits – four singles – in Monday’s 2-0 loss to the Indians. After setting career highs with 24 homers, 93 RBIs and a .301 average, Josh Donaldson had two of those hits as the A’s suffered a major league-record 10th straight opening-day defeat.
Donaldson is 13 for 28 (.464) in his last seven home games against the Indians, and 3 for 6 with a homer versus scheduled Game 1 starter Corey Kluber.
The right-hander proved to be effective in the rotation after being recalled from Triple-A Columbus last April, going 11-5 with a 3.85 ERA in 26 games, including 24 starts. He went 5-0 with a 3.30 ERA over his last 10 starts.
He’s facing the A’s for the first time since 2012, and owns a 2.19 ERA in three meetings – two starts – but has an 0-2 record since he’s been backed by two total runs.
Hoping to be more effective with his off-speed pitches, Cleveland’s Zach McAllister is slated to take the mound in the nightcap. The right-hander went 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 24 starts last season, but was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his last three.
He allowed five hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 1-0 victory over the A’s on May 7 to improve to 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA versus Oakland.
"We need (Kluber and McAllister)," manager Terry Francona told the Indians’ official website. "I think they’re embracing the challenge and, now, they’ve just got to go do it."
Jesse Chavez was to pitch for the A’s in Wednesday’s originally scheduled contest but will be pushed back to Thursday against Seattle. Acquired from Texas in the offseason, right-hander Josh Lindblom could be called up from the minors to start for Oakland in the second game.
Lindblom went 0-3 with a 6.33 ERA in five starts last season for the Rangers.
With two doubles in the opener, Cleveland’s Michael Brantley is batting .444 (12 for 27) in his last eight games against the A’s.