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Kaz Reverting, Mad Maddon?

From the official Rays' site:

Kazmir was frustrated by his lack of command on his pitches. "I just felt like I was thinking out there too much," he said. "My approach for the second half is to go out there and do what I did in the past, and not worry about getting on the left side of the rubber -- get back on the right side of the rubber."

Not sure how much of an effect this will have on Kazmir, but hopefully it's the clicking point and he becomes the 2006 All-Star Kazmir, and not the struggling youngster.

Perhaps more interesting and pleasing, this part about Joe Maddon and the bullpen:

Maddon announced J.P Howell will go to Triple-A Durham for a pair of starts before rejoining the Rays. The All-Star break and days off meant the team wouldn't need a fifth starter until 10 days or so after the break. James Shields will pitch the second-half opener next Thursday against the Yankees. Kazmir, Andy Sonnanstine and Edwin Jackson will follow him in the rotation.

But Maddon emphasized things will not improve for the Devil Rays unless the bullpen improves. He said many of the bullpen problems form a common thread: strike throwing.

"We walk too many and the batting average against us is too high," Maddon said.

The bullpen ERA is creeping closer to 6.00. Take away Shields' impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 116-19, and the staff has struck out 503 while walking 300.

While contemplating those pitching numbers and the coming All-Star break, Maddon told reporters: "This is a good time for a break."

Previously it was stated that Howell would work out of the bullpen, now that he's heading to Durham I question who will come up and take his spot in the bullpen.

I previously posted that I doubt Bill Evers could do much with the bullpen, Maddon's apparently not happy with it, and rightfully so.

I know there was a trade out there; Tony Gwynn Jr. for Akinori Otsuka, it makes sense for a contending team but I don't see the Rays adding Otsuka, he's too old and wouldn't provide much long term help for the price, but you have to believe there's something out there we can get that will improve the pen. I don't believe that buying a pen works, look at Baltimore, Chicago (Cubs), ect. it just doesn't work, but I refuse to believe there's not something we can do to improve the pen just enough to be average.