Tag:Bud Norris
Posted on: May 7, 2011 11:19 am

On Deck: Verlander's chase for Ks, Teheran debuts


By Evan Brunell

BEST MATCHUP:  Justin Verlander (2-3, 3.75 ERA) will look to stop the Tigers' recent streak of futility when Detroit takes on Toronto, who will counter with Ricky Romero (2-3, 3.00 ERA). Both Verlander and Romero are two of the league's better pitchers in the early going. Romero had his previous start pushed back two days after straining his left oblique muscle. That injury is something to watch, given recent rash of obliques knocking players out for extended periods of time. Romero is also looking to build on the momentum of defeating the Yankees to break a personal three-game losing streak. Verlander, meanwhile, will attempt to narrow the gap between himself and Cliff Lee for baseball's lead in strikeouts. Lee has 60 on the night after a brilliant 16-K effort Friday night while Verlander is currently at 51. Tigers at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. ET

PHENOM LOOKS TO EXTEND STREAK: The Atlanta Braves withstood Lee's outburst to take out the Phillies for its sixth straight victory, which pushed Philly's edge in the NL East to 3 1/2. Atlanta still has to leapfrog the Marlins, who are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Braves and face the Nationals Saturday. Atlanta will toss out rookie Julio Teheran, who is making his first career start in a spot start. Teheran is widely considered the best pitching prospect in the game and is not even of drinking age. The Braves' rotation is all sorts of silly deep, isn't it? Philly will counter with one of its non-aces, as Kyle Kendrick replaces Roy Oswalt in the rotation. It will be Kendrick's first start of the year after making eight relief appearances, tossing 13 innings of a 2.08 ERA but with a horrid 2/8 K/BB ratio. He's going to have his hands full with the streaking Atlanta squad. Braves at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

CELLAR DWELLERS: Not every day you advocate a game between two of the worst teams in the NL, but hey. Houston and Pittsburgh are actually both holding their own so far, with the Bucs checking in at a 15-17 record and Houston 13-19 and playoff aspirations still firmly in hand. Teams aside, this is an intriguing pitching matchup, as Bud Norris is breaking out before our very eyes. He's improving his command the more he pitches and now has to be talked about in the same vein as Brandon Morrow and could even be better than his Jays counterpart. Opposing Norris is Charlie Morton and his new Roy Halladay pitching motion which has delivered a 3.75 ERA thus far. However, a 5.40 BB/9 means the wheels will fall off anytime now. How long can Morton continue to defeat inevitability? Astros at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET

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Posted on: May 2, 2011 12:10 am
Edited on: May 2, 2011 12:21 am

3 up, 3 down: Marlins muscle up

By Matt Snyder

3 UP

Florida Marlins' offense. Hanley Ramirez started the fun in the first inning with his first home run of the season, snapping an incredibly long drought for himself. The Marlins weren't done with the long ball, though -- far from it. Before the day was over, they'd connecting on five home runs. Greg Dobbs and John Buck went deep. Mike Stanton hit a mammoth blast to center. Even the light-hitting Emilio Bonifacio knocked one out, and it was his first career home run that wasn't of the inside-the-park variety. Meanwhile, the Marlins won 9-5 and continue to claw at the heels of the mighty Phillies in the NL East. They are certainly one of the most fun teams to watch. Too bad so few do in person. Maybe (hopefully) it changes in the new yard next season.

Bud Norris, Astros. Even if they aren't always consistent, the Brewers have some pretty good hitters, led by superstars Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Norris stymied the whole team for almost eight innings Sunday, working 7 2/3 innings and only allowing three hits. He did walk three, but also struck out 11 without allowing a single run. He's now thrown 13 2/3 shutout innings in his last two starts and has a 1.05 ERA in his last four starts (25 2/3 innings) after a rough first two outings.

Carl Crawford, Red Sox. There are no words that could possibly describe how abysmal the start in Boston has been for Crawford after signing his gargantuan contract. Sunday, we moved to a new month and Crawford knocked in the game-winning run in walk-off fashion against the Mariners. He got to celebrate with his teammates and hear the home crowd cheer him. I love stats, but one thing stats can't measure is the human element. Now that Crawford has had a weight lifted off his chest, the bet is he gets going. When he does, you'll hear that it was simply a regression to the mean from many, but it has to start somewhere. Breaking through with a big hit like this is something that sets a player's mind at ease.

BONUS UP: The Phillies fans -- along with a decent amount of Mets fans -- in attendance Sunday night in Philly. When news of Bin Laden's death spread through the stadium, fans stopped worrying about team allegiances and chanted "USA! USA! USA!" (There's a good video of it here , but I'm not sure it lasts too long before MLB sees it and pulls it). It's a nice reminder that, while we might bicker amongst ourselves, we're still Americans. Pass along some of that camaraderie this week.


Ryan Franklin's fortunes, Cardinals. Franklin took the loss and the Cardinals' late-inning bullpen woes continued. If you look only at the surface of what happened, that's what you'd see. But remember, you can learn a lot by actually watching games. Not only did Ryan Theriot drop a pop-up to let Alex Gonzalez on base -- who scared the game-winning run -- but the Brooks Conrad single to win the game for the Braves was a blooper with eyes. Anyone who blames Franklin for this doesn't know a lick about baseball.

Matt Harrison, Rangers. So much for that hot start. Remember, after Tax Day, Harrison was 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Then he had a decent outing (6 2/3 innings, three earned runs) and took the loss. Since then he's been dreadful, and that may even be an understatement. In his past two starts, including Sunday's debacle against the slap-hitting A's, Harrison has allowed 14 hits, 11 earned runs and five walks in 4 2/3 innings. He couldn't even make it through two innings Sunday. Worse yet for Harrison is the fact that Tommy Hunter, Scott Feldman and Brandon Webb are making progress in recovery from injuries -- not to mention how well Alexi Ogando is throwing the ball. Harrison could very well be pitching himself out of a job. Who woulda thought that a few weeks ago?

Carl Pavano, Twins. He's in such a bad stretch, he can't even properly throw a temper tantrum. After being rocked by the Royals to the tune of 12 hits and six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, Pavano went nuts on something in the corner of the dugout with a bat (watch it on MLB.com by clicking here ). To use one of my favorite lines from Seinfeld, Pavano failed at failing, because he was trying to break the bat: "That's why I kept wailing away, because that [expletive deleted] wouldn't break." (Twins Now via Twitter)

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Posted on: March 28, 2011 10:24 pm

3 up, 3 down for 3/28: Orioles version

By Matt Snyder

3 UP

Luke Scott, Orioles. By the end of the second inning Scott had two home runs and seven RBI after a three-run bomb and a grand slam. Have a day, Luke!

Jake Fox, Orioles. He was outdone by Scott Monday, since Fox only mustered one home run and RBI -- but let's tip our collective hats to the spring Fox put together. He came in fighting for a roster spot, he left with 10 home runs in 73 at-bats, with a 1.137 OPS. Basically, he was the most feared slugger in the Grapefruit League.

Kila Ka'aihue, Royals. Though overshadowed by Fox, the Royals' first-sacker is having quite the spring of his own. Ka'aihue hit his seventh home run of the spring Monday and drove home three -- running that total to 20 RBI in 56 at-bats. He's hitting .411 with an amazing 1.351 OPS.


Max Scherzer, Tigers. If the Orioles' hitters went that bonkers, someone had to bear the brunt of it, and it was Scherzer. He was dismantled. The ugly line: 2 1/3 innings, nine hits, 11 earned runs, three home runs (see above for the Baltimore culprits). He was already having a rough spring, but now the ERA sits at 10.38. On the bright side, last season Scherzer had a 6.23 ERA and he went on to put up a 3.50 ERA in the regular season.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals. Only four guys crossed the plate, but Westbrook allowed 13 baserunners in 4 1/3 innings. That's a WHIP of 3.00 and he won't always be able to strand so many runners -- especially with zero strikeouts.

Bud Norris, Astros. The Phillies -- sans Ryan Howard and, of course, Chase Utley -- had their way with Norris Monday. Six hits, four walks and a three-run Ben Francisco bomb doomed Norris, as he allowed six earned runs in five innings and saw the spring ERA balloon to 7.71. Much like Scherzer, however, Norris was brutal last spring and much better when the games actually mattered. Fortunately for the two, the slates wipe clean in just a few days. And fortunately for the rest of us, too, because we need some games that mean something.

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Posted on: March 14, 2011 5:01 pm

Getting to know the Astros

By Evan Brunell


NorrisThe Astros defied expectations last season by finishing with a 76-86 record in a year where franchise icons Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt were traded. Unfortunately for Houston, they still don't have a great baseball team despite importing Clint Barmes and Bill Hall to be the new double-play combination and help in the minors is not forthcoming. They need their young players at the major-league level to develop, and a leap forward by starting pitcher Bud Norris could be huge.

Norris posted a 4.92 ERA in 27 starts last season as a 25-year-old despite a 9.3 K/9 rate. If Norris can knock his 4.5 BB/9 mark down, he could evolve into a front-of-the-rotation pitcher. Heck, even regression to the mean could go a long way as Norris' xFIP was 4.12, suffering from an impressively low baserunner-strand rate of 67.1 percent. The league average in 2010 was 72.2 percent and strand rate is not considered one that can be influenced by skill.

But if you couple both a leap forward with the regression to the mean on strand rate and Norris could suddenly be considered one of the best young starters in the game.


  • Turk Farrell played with Rusty Staub for the 1963 Houston Colt .45's
  • Rusty Staub played with Rick Aguilera for the 1985 New York Mets
  • Rick Aguilera played with LaTroy Hawkins for the 1995 Minnesota Twins
  • LaTroy Hawkins played with Hunter Pence for the 2008 Houston Astros


In the second film of the Bad News Bears franchise, the down-and-out Little League team that improbably finished in second place had to find a way to reach Houston and play at the Astrodome. If they defeated the Houston Toros (hint: they did), it would earn the squad a date to play against the Japanese champions.

During the game, the umpires attempted to suspend play due to time constraints. Coach Leak (William Devane) led the crowd in a chant of "Let them play!" that is regarded as the film's seminal moment. This chant would be repeated years later during the 2002 All-Star Game that ended in a tie.

Several Astros made cameo appearances in the movie, including Cesar Cedeno, Enos Cabell, Bob Watson and J.R. Richard.

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More MLB coverage
Category: MLB
Posted on: October 14, 2010 7:21 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:57 am

R.I.P. Astros: Moving on

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Now: the Houston Astros.

Few teams were as bad as the Astros were in the first part of the season, and then few teams were as good as the Astros in the second half of the season.


When I see Carlos Lee (pictured), I sometimes I think of the line in "Major League" when Charlie Donovan says, "I forgot about Dorn, because he's jolly high-priced." Lee owed $37 million through the next two seasons.

Lee didn't hit a homer in the season's first month, entered June with a .206 batting average and finished the season hitting .246/.291/.417 with 24 homers and 89 RBI. He's a below-average designated hitter that plays in the National League.

It's not to say Lee was all that was wrong with the Astros. Others struggled, such as Lance Berkman and Pedro Felice.

What may have been more devastating was seeing prospects the team had been counting on, such Tommy Manzella, Jason Castro and J.R. Towles struggle.


Brad Mills A lot of credit has to go to first-year manager Brad Mills. The team went 40-59 in their first 99 games of the season before finishing 36-27 the rest of the way. Mills also did it without some of his high-priced talent, as the team jettisoned Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman and Pedro Feliz.

Third baseman Chris Johnson had a good season, going .308/.337/.481 with 11 homers. Hunter Pence cashed in on the promise he'd shown early in his career, hitting .282/.325/.461 with 25 home runs, 91 RBI and 18 stolen bases.

The team relied on good starting pitching during its good streak from Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and J.A. Happ, and all four of those starters return for 2011.


Ugh. Not really. That's the problem with cutting your losses and going young -- you need young players to replace the old ones. It's cheaper, but the Astros have one of the worst farm systems in the majors.


The second half of the season raised the bar for the Astros, so fans will be expecting at least a .500 team, if not a run at the NL Central title.


The Astros took the right direction during the season, trading Berkman and Oswalt.

Houston has Berkan, Oswalt, Feliz and Kaz Matsui off the books, but there's not a whole to to spend that money on in free agency.

Although Berkman had hinted that he wanted to return to Houston, the teams needs to resist nostalgia and give Brett Wallace a chance at first base.


The optimism from the last part of 2010 will be gone by the All-Star break and the team will finish ahead of the Pirates in the National League Central, but won't be challenging for a title.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 14, 2010 9:26 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2010 2:04 pm

Pirates helpless against Astros' Norris

Bud Norris
Astros pitcher Bud Norris is a popular target for practical jokes, like parking his car in the outfield during batting practice. It's probably safe to say the only thing Norris was targeted for by teammates Saturday night was pats on the back.

Norris absolutely mowed down the Pirates, with 14 strikeouts in seven innings of work. If he had reached 15, he'd have been the first man to strike out that many Pirates since Randy Johnson in 2001. As it was, he recorded the most strikeouts by a pitcher at Minute Maid Park.

Norris, who features a 94-mph fastball and good slider, gave up a triple and a two-run homer to the first two batters of the game, then struck out the side. He struck out one in the second and two each in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. He left with a 3-2 lead and won as that was the final. The Pirates struck out three more times against the bullpen to end the night with 17.

Norris, in his second major-league season, entered Saturday with a 4-7 record and 5.63 ERA in 17 starts. He has averaged 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and has a 2.24 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 7, 2010 6:17 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2010 2:56 pm

It's not easy being Norris

Bud Norris Major leaguers are notorious for their pranks -- shaving ceam pies, clothes in the freezer, Icy Hot in the jockstrap -- but the Astros really outdid themselves Wednesday.

Someone drove right-hander Bud Norris' car onto the warning track at Minute Maid Park prior to batting practice, putting a "for sale" sign on it and painting a shaving cream bull's eye on the windshield. Astros social media guru Alyson Footer snapped this picture and put it on Twitter.

Seems Norris, 25, is a regular target for razzing by teammates. Hopefully Norris got the car moved before Lance Berkman stepped into the cage.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 28, 2010 11:41 am

Moehler wins spot in Astros rotation

By designating Josh Banks for assignment, the Astros have solidified their rotation… for the time being, writes the Houston Chronicle 's Bernardo Fallas .

Here's how the rotation stacks up while Felipe Paulino recovers from shoulder tendinitis: Bud Norris faces the Brewers today, followed by Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez. Brian Moehler will pitch Thursday in San Diego, followed by Roy Oswalt, who is still an Astro at this point, but that could change.

Moehler and Banks had a one-off for the No. 5 spot this weekend against the Astros. Moehler went five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) and picked up the win on Friday, while Banks lasted just four-plus innings and allowed six runs, all earned, in his outing.

Paulino cannot be activated until July 6 at the earliest.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com