Kazmir: Astros remind him of 2008 World Series Rays team
In 2008, the upstart Tampa Bay Rays made it all the way to the World Series. The team, which had then-24-year-old lefty Scott Kazmir on its pitching staff, was the surprise of MLB as a blend of young stars and veterans became an AL East powerhouse.
Seven years later, Kazmir is 31 and a key figure on the upstart Houston Astros - and he sees similarities between this year's team and that amazing Rays club from 2008.
As Kazmir told Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle, the parallels lie in the Astros' transformation from a club that had issues getting wins to a team rejuvenated by the addition of strong young talent seemingly overnight.
Said Kazmir of those Rays: “Early on it was tough just because we weren’t really that good. It was tough to just get 70 wins until the 2007 season."
Then, however, everything clicked: “After that it got really fun. A lot of guys got called up at the same time. It was kind of like the group that this is right here, just a bunch of young guys that are looking to prove themselves.”
Kazmir even drew a parallel between the Rays' young star at the time, Evan Longoria, and the Astros' biggest story at the moment: phenom Carlos Correa.
Kazmir: “It’s almost like Longoria (was) like Correa, that X-factor, that guy that made a difference. When he got called up it seemed like everybody was progressing and ready to go.”
Entering play Wednesday, Houston sits atop the AL West at 65-55, protecting a 2.5-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels. Whether this club makes good on the promise identified by Kazmir remains to be seen, but they're definitely in a good spot at the moment.