Veteran lefty Scott Kazmir will attempt to end a three- decision skid against the team that drafted him on Friday night, when the Cleveland Indians host the New York Mets in the opener of a three-game interleague series at Progressive Field.
Now 29 years old and a veteran of 204 big league outings, Kazmir was the 15th overall selection of the Mets in the 2002 draft and spent two seasons in their organization before being dealt to Tampa Bay in a four-player trade in 2004.
He was with the Rays through 2009 and spent parts of three seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before he was signed as a free agent by the Indians in December 2012.
He tossed five innings and allowed one unearned run in a single appearance at Triple-A Columbus this season and was 7-4 with the Indians in the majors after a 2-0 victory at Miami on Aug. 4 in which he allowed two hits and struck out seven in six innings.
The struggles have largely occurred since then, with four subsequent starts resulting in three losses and his earned run average climbing from 3.89 to 4.36.
Kazmir has never faced the Mets.
The Mets start young righty Zack Wheeler, who was 12 years old when Kazmir was drafted.
The Georgia native was drafted by San Francisco and acquired by New York in a trade for Carlos Beltran in 2011. He reached the majors earlier this season and won four of five decisions before a 6-2 loss to Kansas City on Aug. 4.
The rest of the month yielded three more wins in four decisions, capped off by an 11-3 victory at Washington on Aug. 31, in which Wheeler allowed two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, trimming his ERA from 3.42 to 3.36.
He's a pristine 5-0 in eight road starts with a 2.19 ERA in 49 1/3 innings.
On Wednesday in Atlanta, Andrew Brown and Lucas Duda homered to back seven strong innings from Dillon Gee, as the Mets beat the NL East-leading Braves, 5-2, to avoid a three-game sweep.
Gee (11-9), who also had an RBI, gave up one run on four hits while striking out five for the Mets, who snapped a three-game skid. The right-hander has won four of his last five decisions.
"My main goals coming out of spring training this year were to get to 200 innings and take the ball every time it was my turn," Gee said. "I've done that so far."
In Cleveland, Yan Gomes doubled in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, and the Indians upended the Baltimore Orioles, 6-4, in the finale of a series between playoff-hopeful clubs.
Gomes and Ryan Raburn each drove in two runs for the Indians, who are even with Baltimore at three games off in the wild card standings. The two clubs trail Tampa Bay for the second wild card spot.
Zach McAllister allowed five hits and four runs over 4 2/3 innings in the start for the Indians. Bryan Shaw (3-3) threw the ensuing inning to get the win, and Chris Perez retired the side in order in the ninth for his 22nd save.
The Mets enter the weekend with a 7-2 lead in the all-time series between the teams, including a three-game sweep in Cleveland the last time the teams played in 2010.