The Astros open up a nice long homestand after playing 13 of their last 16 games on the road, in which they went 2-4 against the Brewers and Reds to drop their road record to 4-9. After starting the season 3-1, they've gone 5-13. The last starting pitcher other than Wandy Rodriguez to get a win was April 19, when Bud Norris and the Astros beat the Nationals 11-4. So they'll open up a nice long homestand with a three-game set against the Mets.
*The Astros and Mets split 2011's series, 3-3, and are 7-12 against New York since 2009.
*The Astros will face 6'4" 215lb 37-year old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey
*Dickey was an English Literature major at the University of Tennessee, and was an Academic All-American with a 3.35 GPA.
*The Rangers drafted him with the 18th overall pick in the 1996 draft, where they offered him an $810K signing bonus...until a team doctor saw Dickey's arm hanging at an odd angle in a picture. They found that he didn't have a UCL, and reduced their offer to $75,000.
*Dickey climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in November 2011.
*Dickey is 1-2 against the Astros in his career, with four of his six appearances coming as starts. He has a 3.82 ERA/1.27 WHIP, with the WHIP coming in as his 5th-best WHIP against NL teams for his career.
*Both of those losses to the Astros came in 2011, as he allowed 19H/10ER, 6K:2BB in 13.1IP, with 3HR. . The 3HR were the most he allowed to one team in 2011.
*Dickey has been solid in three of his four starts in 2012. Excepting his April 18 game at Atlanta (which we'll get to in a second), Dickey has thrown 20IP, 17H/4ER, 17K:6BB with an average Game Score of 62.3.
*Ahhh, but April 18 did happen. In 4.1IP, he allowed 8H/8ER, 5K:2BB, 3HR. His 18 Game Score was the lowest since he posted a 10 on August 20, 2008 for Seattle at Chicago White Sox.
*Against current Astros, only a handful have more than 5PAs: Carlos Lee, who likely will not be playing tonight, has a 1.048 OPS in 21PAs; Jordan Schafer is 3x7, and Chris Johnson is 4x14 against Dickey.
*The Astros will send out Bud Norris to face the Mets.
*Norris has been progressively worse in each of his four outings thus far in 2012, posting Game Scores of 66, 47, 40, and 27, respectively. His last time out, he allowed 9H/7ER and 3HR at Milwaukee.
*In his last two starts, hitters are teeing off for a .358/.414/.623 line.
*The leadoff batter of the inning has gotten on base in 10 out of 25 innings against Norris (8H, 1BB, 1HBP), corresponding to a 1.050 OPS with 0 out.
*Current Mets have 54 PAs against Norris, with a .768 OPS. David Wright is 0x8, Ike Davis is 2x8 (as is Josh Thole). R.A. Dickey himself has 2RBI against Norris in 6PAs.