As fate would have it, the newest Oriole, Bud Norris, will make his first start in orange and black against his former team. Do they have some inside information on him? Probably. More troubling is the fact that he has a terrible ERA on the road - seriously, it's awful - and he also has a bad record in his career when starting on extra rest. He was supposed to start on Tuesday and now he starts tonight, and he's bad with 6+ days, like 5+ ERA bad. It's bad.
One start is not a referendum on the trade. Norris has the rest of the season and two years beyond to be worth the price of the trade, but certainly the hope was that his acquisition would help the Orioles chase the playoffs for a second consecutive season. On top of that, the Orioles really, really need to be winning games against a cellar-dwelling Houston club.
Norris will be the 14th pitcher to start a game for the O's. There haven't been this many Orioles starters in a season since 1998, when they also started 14. He should be a stable presence for the year, if nothing else. He's averaging six innings per game started, and we will take that from the starter every night. More is better, but six is fine.
Another problem with the team right now happens to be the offense, because when you get shut out by pitchers led by the immortal Brett Oberholtzer for seven innings, you got some problems - mostly against lefties, but there are problems. The Orioles have 15 hits in the last three games and they haven't had a game with 10+ hits in the last eight games. It's bad.
They'll be up against 22-year old Jordan Lyles, a right-hander who has never faced the Orioles before. He has ten strikeouts as a career high and the way things are going lately, we should expect him to pass that. Lyles is on what you might call the Zach Britton career path in the sense that he is a young pitcher who is in his third major league season and has never really gotten better than 5 ERA territory. He brings a 4.92 ERA into tonight's game.
In stark contrast to Norris, Lyles has had a better ERA on the road than at home this year: 3.95 in seven games. He also has a 3.04 ERA in night games and has been awful in days games. Small sample size? Probably. He had a 7.77 ERA in July, so he's probably glad it's August, not that the calendar month changing means he'll pitch better, but baseball is all about these weird superstitions.
If the Orioles lose a series at home to the Astros, I'm going to be very depressed, so I really hope they'll do me the favor and win, preferably with Bud Norris pitching like seven innings of two-hit ball.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||HOUSTON ASTROS|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Jonathan Villar - SS|
|Manny Machado - 3B||L.J. Hoes - CF|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Jason Castro - C|
|Adam Jones - CF||Chris Carter - DH|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Brett Wallace - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Marc Krauss - RF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Jimmy Paredes - 2B|
|Henry Urrutia - DH||Matt Dominguez - 3B|
|Brian Roberts - 2B||Robbie Grossman - LF|