|This is going to get a lot of use this season.|
His numbers are obviously a little buttressed by last night's game, but stats wise he's where you'd like him to be adjusting to A+ in his first proper season in pro ball. Should these sort of performances necessitate a callup to AA Corpus Christi? Hmmm...probably not, although I'm a little conservative with callups.
Bud Norris bringing his A game
The win against the Pirates was a great response after another brutal series against the Marlins, including another crushing extra innings loss (that makes three against just the Marlins in 2012).
Bud Norris has now pitched three excellent starts in a row, getting out of the sixth inning unscathed and clamping down in the fourth with a man on third base early in the inning. Norris has now gone two starts without allowing an earned run, and the start before that held the Mets scoreless for six before allowing three runs in the seventh inning.
The rest of the Pirates series
Outside of Wandy Rodriguez we need to get these sort of pitching performances on a regular basis to be a competitive club. If you're only getting excellent starts two days out of five, a mediocre offense is going to struggle to bail out starting pitchers three days out of five.
I don't fancy J.A. Happ's chances against Charlie Morton tonight, but Wandy may have the edge on A.J. Burnett Sunday, since the ex-Yankee has had four rough starts. Be warned though, his K/9 is 10.9, so the Astros have to take advantage of hitters counts.
The Pirates, who entered the game level with the Astros in the NL Central, have the fifth lowest ERA in the NL, but have so far struggled to score runs, ranking dead last in walks and runs in the league.
The schedule is currently being kind to the Astros in regard to the fifth-starter's spot, meaning that slot will not come up till Tuesday again, with both Aneury Rodriguez and Jordan Lyles having good starts in recent weeks. But Rodriguez, who was sent back down to the minors following his start, will not be eligible for Tuesday since he has to spend 10 days in the minors before being recalled. Lyles pitched on Thursday night, so you would figure he would get the call, although I would not assume anything with this club anymore. Hell they might let Brandon Lyon try his hand as a starter.
Other quick notes
The Astros bullpen have gotten themselves a name "The Regulators" and have had a solid few weeks. Brett Myers now has 9 saves and has allowed a solitary run all season long, even if he has just seven strikeouts.
What's the best way to handle a slumping J.D. Martinez? According to Brad Mills its to pull him from the lineup and give him a few days off. I'm cool with that. Give him a chance to rest, look at some videos, relax and let him get back into the zone, rather than throwing him to the dogs.
Back to the minors very quickly. Delino DeShields Jr has 20 steals so far and at this pace he could end up with 70/80. He will turn 20 in August and is drawing a ton of walks. Here's hoping his bat will come around in the next few months.