Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Friends Close, Enemies Closer: G23 vs. Cardinals

We're going to switch it up a little bit, and give you some tidbits regarding the Astros into this section.

Friends Close

Bud Norris takes the mound for the Astros in what was hopefully ordained at the beginning of the season, lining up Norris to face the Cardinals.

*Norris is 1-1, but has pitched much better over his past two starts. In 12IP, he has allowed 12H/3ER (10H/3ER in his last start at NYM), 13K:4BB. Opponents hit .250/.308/.375 with a .324 BABIP in those two starts.

*Somewhat troublingly, Norris' fastball velocity has been off in 2011. Actually, velocity on all of his pitches has been off. His fastball, which he throws 56.1% of the time has been averaging 92.6mph, a full 1mph off his 2010 average, and 1.4mph off 2009. His slider sits about 2mph slower (85.6mph) than in 2010, and his changeup is about 84.4mph in 2011, whereas it was 85.7mph in 2010.

*Although opponents are chasing 32.2% of his pitches outside the zone (27.4% in 2010).

*Norris has been much better at home, allowing a .529 OPS compared to a 1.027 OPS on the road (.207 BABIP at home; .433 on the road).

*Three of the four homers he has allowed have been w/RISP so far.

*His success against St. Louis is well-documented. In six starts (39.2IP), Norris has allowed a 2.27 ERA/1.08 WHIP - 32H/10ER, 35K:11BB.

*Colby Rasmus has the highest OPS on the team against Norris (.896), with two doubles, a homer, and a single in 16AB. Matt Holliday is 5x19 with a double, 2HR against him (.895 OPS).

Enemies Closer

*Jaime Garcia has a 3-0 record, with a 1.44 ERA in four starts, allowing 20H/4ER, 24K:7BB in 25IP.

*He has labored in his last two starts, however, needing 102 and 91 pitches to get 15 outs in his last two starts, respectively.

*Garcia throws four pitches - his fastball (55.9%) at 89.3mph, a cutter (19.1%) at 85.4mph, and a changeup (18.5%), with a curve every now and then (6.5%) at 71.8mph in 2011.

*Opponents are making contact at a 75.9% clip - down from 77.1% in 2010.

*Righties are having a hard time against Garcia, posting a .189/.250/.216 line, while lefties are hitting .375/.444/.375. In 82 plate appearances total, batters have two extra-base hits - both doubles.

*The Astros have only faced Garcia once - in August 2010. He lost that game, allowing 10H/8R (4ER) in 5IP.