Why Astros fans should be excited about Scott Kazmir

I’m going to throw three Scott Kazmir numbers at you. Behold!

3.43

3.47

3.30

That’s what happens when you strip most of the luck from Scott Kazmir’s performance over these last three seasons, with amalgamations of his FIP and his xFIP (since nobody seems to think either statistic is perfect).

Yes, his actual ERA’s gone from 4.04 to 3.55 to this season’s outstanding 2.38, but the overwhelming message here is that Scott Kazmir has been the same pitcher. You know, since he rediscovered his mojo back in 2012 with the Sugarland Skeeters. Yes, Kazmir’s pushed his ground-ball rate up a smidge this season, but his low ERA is largely the product of a .262 BABiP allowed and an abnormally low HR/FB rate.

Hey, it happens. If we assume the ground-ball rate is "real," Kazmir’s a 3.30 ERA pitcher. Which would make him the best or the second-best pitcher on the Houston Astros.

Excuse me. Does make him the best or the second-best. Since now he’s an Astro, and Astros fans should be thrilled.

Not because Kazmir’s a great pitcher. He’s merely quite good. Rather, because this deals proves the Astros are actually trying to win, which is a good thing because the Astros can win.

Yes, the Angels are the flavor of the month. That’ll happen when you win seven straight and 17 of 20, and grab first place. But the Angels’ run differential is no better than the Astros’, and I might argue that the Astros have fewer weaknesses than the Angels.

Of course the Astros don’t have Mike Trout and the Angels do, which is mostly what makes this thing so hard to call. And Kazmir doesn’t really change this much. He’s just a security blanket, giving the Astros three dependable starting pitchers instead of two. With youngsters Lance McCullers and Vincent Velasquez backing up the big three.

The Astros are really smart. If we needed some proof that they’re good enough to beat the Angels, this is pretty good.