AL West: The Astros won on Altuve's walk-off (you can read the Masked Marvel's recap here), the Mariners won, the A's and Angels both lost, and Texas had the day off. Thus, the Astros are 1.0 back of the Angels, 7.5 up on the Rangers, 9.5 up on Seattle, and 10 up on the A's. FanGraphs gives the Astros a 43.4% chance of winning the division and a season-high 81.9% chance of making the postseason in some capacity. That's a 14.8% jump in winning the division, so I'm guessing FanGraphs adjusted for Kazmir's addition to the rotation.
On to the links:
*Luhnow struck the first blow in the race to October, writes Brian T. Smith. Luhnow:
They talk about high leverage for relievers. This is a high-leverage opportunity for our club. We're in a division with one other team that seems to be our biggest challenge to winning. We owe it to ourselves to take advantage of this.
It just shows the level of commitment from the front office and how the organization is committed to winning this year.
*Trading for Kazmir gives the Astros credibility, within the team and with the rest of the league, writes Evan Drellich.
*Lancaster's J.D. Davis sounded like Jacob Nottingham died, not got traded:
I spent my day off with Nottingham and Fisher in Anaheim on Wednesday and hung out. It was kind of a shocker...
*Keith Law says the Astros paid dearly (Insider only):
The Astros paid dearly for two months, maybe a dozen starts in the remainder of the regular season, of Kazmir, giving up a top young catching prospect and a quality right-handed starter prospect who was buried in the team's surfeit of right-handed arms.
*SI's Cliff Corcoran said the price really wasn't that high.
*Beyond the Box Score writes about how Kazmir improves the Astros' already-solid rotation.
*George Springer raised over $100,000 for charity.
*Here's the Chronicle's Big Ol' Biggio HOF section.
*We wrote about the 2014 A's as a cautionary tale yesterday about an hour before the Kazmir deal.