Looking for his first win in more than a month, Kazmir tries to lead the Angels to a fifth consecutive victory Tuesday night against the Indians at Progressive Field.
After dropping two in a row at home to Cleveland, Los Angeles (70-73) beat the Indians 4-3 in 16 innings Wednesday. The Angels then followed with a three-game sweep of Seattle. Though the Angels likely will not make the postseason for a fourth straight year, they are in the midst of their longest winning stretch since winning six in a row June 2-7.
“We need to obviously put wins on the board and put ourselves in a position where we have an opportunity to gain ground when we play some of the teams ahead of us and make a difference,” said manager Mike Scioscia, whose third-place team trails AL West leader Texas by 10 games with 19 to play.
“We’re putting together a little streak now, and obviously it has to continue.”
Los Angeles and Cleveland (58-85) have split their six previous games, all in Anaheim.
Kazmir (8-13, 5.98 ERA) has not won since Aug. 7 at Detroit, but allowed one run, two hits and struck out six in six innings of Thursday’s victory over the Indians.
The left-hander is 0-4 with a 4.28 ERA in his last six starts, but has a 2.31 ERA in the last two. His teammates, however, have scored a combined three runs in those games.
“We just wanted to get him to a certain point and just keep laying the foundation,” Scioscia told the Angels’ official website.
That means further improving on a 1-2 mark and 6.09 ERA in seven starts versus Cleveland.
The right-hander has allowed three runs in each of his last three outings, going 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA during that span. He gave up three hits in six innings versus Los Angeles last week.
“What gives him a little advantage to survive is he has four pitches,” manager Manny Acta told the Indians’ official website. “Maybe one day one is not going to be in the strike zone, but then he still has three. That’s why it is important he keeps throwing the four of them and using them all.”
Beginning with that extra-inning loss to the Angels, the Indians have totaled seven runs while losing three of four. They were outscored 7-2 while losing the last two against Minnesota this weekend.
Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo(notes) is batting a team-leading .287, but is 4 for 29 in his last seven games. That included a 2-for-15 stretch at Los Angeles. Choo, however, is 3 for 8 with a home run against Kazmir.
Blog Coverage from SB Nation
- Video: Phillies fans chant ‘U-S-A!’ after Osama bin Laden news
- Eyes on prize: Indians nervous about Miller pitching in WBC
- Hamilton leaves Rangers' camp to have his left knee examined
- AP source: Matt Wieters, Nationals agree, pending physical
- 4 new umps as Hirschbeck, Welke, Davidson, Joyce retire
- Ian Desmond will spend spring trying to master first base