Scott Kazmir takes the mound tomorrow against the Baltimore Orioles, and it looks like he's back to form, take rest in knowing your eyes aren't deceiving you. July was a heckuva month for the 23 year old, coincidentally it was also the first month since he changed spots on the rubber, which as we've had beat into our brains by Joe Magrane (not that we still don't find him as one of the better color men around) the switch was supposed to help Kazmir get more groundballs, remember that? Yeah, well it looks like that's the exact thing that happened, only about the wrong switch.
Since he lost to the Kansas City Royals on July 8th and his ERA reached a 4.41 clip Kazmir has been lights out, giving starts with earned run totals of 0, 1, 3, and another 0 meanwhile working into at least the 6th in each of the four starts. He's started walking less: 4, 1, 3, 1 and striking out more 7, 6, 8, 8 not to mention getting those desired ground balls and lowering his pitch counts to the point where he finished the seventh with 94 pitches, yes the same Kazmir who earlier this year had 96 through five.
What about those groundballs? After averaging in the mid to lower 40 percents during the first three months Kazmir reached 53% and posted his best monthly ERA: 2.7, an entire 1.1 lower than his next best month of May. His walk per plate appearance ratios have dropped to 9.7 rather than 14 and 12.3 of May and June, and his K/PA rates remained at 25.2, down 0.1 from June.
At home, the place Kaz hadn't won at since last July? He's won two games and has a K/PA rate of 27.9 and a 3.2 ERA, in other words; there's no rocking the casbah in his house. Even better Kazmir didn't allow a single homerun in July, rebounding from June where he allowed two multi-homerun games within a three start span.
All of this while continuing his domination of the Red Sox to a crisp 2.55 ERA. He may have disappointed us with our hopes in the beginning, but it's beginning to look like the same old Kazmir, only with a new appreciation for efficiency, don't be surprised if he rides this wave through August and lowers his ERA near 3.4, setting up a potential Cy Young run next season.