It wasn’t that long ago that the Cleveland Indians actually held first place in the American League Central division. The period of time was extremely short lived but the pressure they were constantly keeping on the Detroit Tigers was something that made everyone assume there would be a pennant race down to the wire in this division. As the month of August has gone on however, the pennant race has dissolved as the Indians have struggled. One of the reasons they continue to struggle is starting pitcher Scott Kazmir.
Kazmir has given up ten runs in his last two outings and four runs in a start two before that. There have been a couple of shutout performances from Kazmir but not nearly enough to make up for the lack of quality starts overall. His ERA has jumped from 3.96 to 4.39 in the course of four starts, one of which he gave up zero runs in. That will tell you just how mightily Kazmir has struggled overall when the chips were down. This is not a good sign for the Indians who continue to fade in the division.
They are already to the point where they should pay a lot more attention to the wildcard race than the division and even that is nearly 5 games away. This is a good offensive team but not that good. They need good contributions from their starting staff. Justin Masterson has been good but he needs help like everyone else in his position would. Kazmir has the talent and the stuff to give the Indians the assistance they need in the form of a quality start every time out. He hasn’t done that however and for that reason alone he has dropped the ball for his team.
They still have an outside shot at the wildcard but to get there they will have to get Kazmir and others like him on board for some great outings to get things moving. Without him they will likely soon take on the role of a spoiler as their post season hopes fade away.