Prior to yesterday’s game Astros manager Bo Porter delivered an interesting nugget to reporters. Porter said that Bud Norris would be held out of his next scheduled start on Sunday just in case he was a last minute addition to the All-Star team. That statement turned out to be the kiss of death for Norris.
With nine consecutive solid outings, Bud had lowered his ERA from 4.32 to 3.22. Norris has always pitched well against the Cardinals, so everyone was expecting another good outing. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Matt Carpenter greeted Norris with a hit to lead off the bottom of the first. One out later, Matt Holliday hammered a Norris slider over the leftfield wall for a 2-run homer. It was the first homerun Norris had allowed to a right-handed hitter this season.
Things didn’t get any better for Norris as the evening progressed. In the second inning Norris tweaked his left ankle while delivering a pitch to Carpenter. In the third, Bud came up limping once again after beating out an infield hit. Through it all, Norris was able to stay in the game – but the results weren’t exactly what we were hoping for.
The Cardinals scored seven runs on eleven hits during Norris’ five inning stint on the mound. With Astro-killer Adam Wainwright toeing the rubber for St.Louis, that was more than enough offense to propel the first place Redbirds to victory.
After the sub-par outing, I’d say it’s pretty unlikely that Norris will be getting a call from A.L. All-Star team manager Jim Leyland asking Bud to join him in New York. Every pitcher has his share of bad outings – Norris just seems to have them at the most inopportune times.
An All-Star game appearance would have been a nice feather in Bud’s cap. I’m not sure if Norris has a bonus clause in his contract that rewards him for making the All-Star team, but making the squad would have certainly come in handy when the time comes to negotiate next year’s contract.
This isn’t the first time that a poorly timed stinker of an outing has been costly for Bud. Last season Norris was having an incredible month of May and appeared to be a lock for Pitcher of the Month honors. But then came that dreadful day at Coors Field. On the final day of the month Norris was shelled by the Rockies in Denver. Failing to get out of the second inning and giving up nine runs turned Bud’s previously impressive stat line up-side-down.
Surely a Pitcher of the Month Award would have been a boon come arbitration time. But it wasn’t to be. Norris just can’t catch a break.
So it looks like Norris will have a few days off now to get healthy again. That is, unless Porter changes his mind and sends him back to the mound on Sunday. If the ankle is not a problem Norris will probably spend much of his All-Star break on the golf course. I’ll be keeping an eye on his tweets to see what happens.