COMMENTARY | Every dog truly does have its day.
Cleveland Indians pitcher Scott Kazmir pitched a masterpiece against the Minnesota Twins on June 21, allowing one earned run in seven innings in a 5-1 victory. Kazmir struck out seven Twins batters and did not allow a walk in what was arguably his best start this season. Unfortunately, starts like this have been way too few and far between for Kazmir, and he may find himself without a job sooner rather than later.
Even after the impressive outing against Minnesota, Kazmir's 2013 stats are mediocre at best. A 5.37 earned run average and a WHIP of 1.55 certainly aren't going to earn him any Cy Young votes, and his 4-4 record is more a result of the run support the Tribe offense has provided Kazmir than anything he has done. In Kazmir's 12 starts this season, the Indians have plated 77 runs, nearly an astonishing 6.5 per game. In six of the games, the Tribe scored at least six runs for Kazmir. Four wins with that sort of offensive support is pathetic at best.
Kazmir has been a bastion of inconsistency in 2013. Every third or fourth start, he pitches well and commentators get all amped up about how remarkable his comeback has been. While Kazmir's rise from a rapid fall from grace a few years back is a great human-interest story, it does not change that fact that when he is on the mound Indians fans are likely going to see a lot of runs scored by the opponent and probably a loss for the Tribe. On his current 2013 pace, we will see the next Kazmir win and wave of articles applauding him sometime in late-July.
While Kazmir's 23 walks in 62 innings of work in 2013 is not particularly good, the 73 hits he has allowed qualifies as downright awful. Opponents are hitting nearly .300 against Kazmir, and it hasn't been just the contenders beating up on him. He was knocked out early in starts against the woeful Houston Astros and the lackluster Seattle Mariners, even after being staked to big leads in both games.
Kazmir has allowed at least five hits in every game he has started this year, save for a June 15 game against the Washington Nationals. He was yanked from that game after allowing four hits, three of them home runs, in just 2.2 innings. Safe to say that Tribe fans won't be seeing a repeat of Len Barker's perfect game anytime Kazmir is on the mound.
The fact that Zach McAllister is currently on the disabled list with a sprained finger is a big reason Kazmir is even still in the Indians' rotation. It's no secret that Cleveland's front office is intent on giving Carlos Carrasco every possible chance to succeed at the major-league level. With Carrasco's suspension finally over with, he pitched well in a June 17 start against the Kansas City Royals. With each pitcher probably going to get two or three more starts before McAllister is back in action, Carrasco and Kazmir will be auditioning for the fifth starting spot. Based on past results this season, such a competition probably won't bode well for Kazmir.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo! Contributor that has followed the Cleveland Indians for 25 years.
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