Scott Kazmir blanks the Marlins over six as Indians win

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Indians starter Scott Kazmir held the Marlins scoreless over six frames this afternoon, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out seven. As recently as June 15, his ERA stood at an unsightly 5.89, but after today’s outing, it is now 3.89. The Indians got their two runs on a Lonnie Chisenhall RBI single in the second and a Michael Brantley RBI single in the eighth.

Kazmir’s rebirth is inspiring, and believe it or not, the lefty is still under the age of 30. He has not pitched a full season in the Majors since posting a 5.89 ERA in 150 innings with the Angels in 2010. After the Angels released him in June 2011, Kazmir played with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League. The Indians took a $1 million flyer on Kazmir and it has paid off well, particularly lately. In nine starts dating back to June 21, Kazmir has a 1.93 ERA in 56 innings.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.