Scott Kazmir has been an absolute thorn in the side of the Texas Rangers this year, whether it be when he was part of the last-place Oakland A's rotation or a part of the first-place Astros'.
In his four starts against the Rangers this year, Kazmir is 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. Heck, he almost no-hit the Rangers in June out in Oakland.
In his one start against the Rangers as a member of the Astros, things went a bit differently as he was tagged for early runs and gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings of work, even though only one of those runs was earned.
Simple fact is, the Rangers have struggled against left-handed pitching this year, and Kazmir is one of the best.
But here's another thing: The Astros can't hit lefties, either, and the Rangers are sending one out on Monday to oppose Kazmir that is probably better.
Cole Hamels was acquired at the trade deadline for the future, but it turns out, the Rangers are right in the hunt for the AL West and are currently sitting in the No. 2 Wild Card spot, and Hamels is exactly the guy you want pitching in big games like Monday's with the division lead on the line.
Hamels was both the ALCS and World Series MVP in 2008 when he helped pitch the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series title, and he's got a nice track record of pitching well in big games. He'll get to add another chapter to that book on Monday night, and again next weekend in Houston, and then again either in the AL Wild Card Game or Game 1 of the ALDS.
Games like Mondays are the reason the Rangers got Cole Hamels. The fact he's pitching in them right now is just a bit ahead of schedule.