The Astros begin a three-game set against the Pirates in Pittsburgh tonight! In 2011, the Astros were 7-11 against the Pirates - the first time since 2007 they've had a losing record against the Pirates - and were 3-6 at PNC Park. Since 2009 the Astros are 28-20 against Pittsburgh, but 9-12 at PNC Park.
The Pirates will send 6'4" 205lb 27-year old RHP James McDonald to the mound.
*McDonald was drafted in the 11th Round of the 2002 draft by the Dodgers, the same round the Astros selected Jason Reuss, an outfielder out of the University of Nevada-Reno.
*He missed all of the 2004 and 2005 seasons due to injury, and was called up for his major-league debut on September 17, 2008 against the Pirates, throwing a scoreless inning in relief.
*At the 2010 trade deadline, McDonald was traded with Andrew Lambo from the Dodgers to the Pirates for Octavio Dotel. In his debut for the Pirates, he set a then-career-high with 8Ks against the Rockies, and threw two consecutive shutouts on September 17 and 13, 2010 - his 20 straight scoreless innings were the longest by a Pirates pitcher since Zach Duke threw 22 straight scoreless innings in 2005.
*McDonald's cousins are Red Sox OF Darnell McDonald and Kansas City OF Donzell McDonald.
*In six starts in 2012, McDonald is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA/1.09 WHIP.
*After starting the season with 6K:6BB through his first three starts, he has 25K:7BB in his last three starts, generating 40 swinging strikes.
*In three home starts, he's allowing a 1.86 ERA/.093 WHIP, with 18K:7BB, and one homer.
*In 17 instances of hitters going after his first pitch, they only have one hit - a homer. When McDonald gets ahead in the count, he's holding opponents to an .057/.057/.057 line (2x35, 0XBH).
*The Astros are going to need to jump on McDonald early. In the first inning, he's allowing a 1.102 OPS, followed by .411, .195, .656, .188 OPS in the following four innings, respectively.
*McDonald is 2-1 in six appearances (5 starts) against the Astros, with a 3.10 ERA/1.38 WHIP. He has never given up a homer to anyone on the Astros.
*In 58 PAs against the Astros, opponents (pitchers included) are hitting .269/.321/.385, with Carlos Lee and Jordan Schafer each getting three hits. Schafer leads the way with an .844 OPS among players with more than 5PAs against McDonald.
*The Astros are 5-1 in games Bud Norris starts in 2012.
*Norris is 2-1 on the season, with a 4.58 ERA/1.39 WHIP. In his last two starts, however, Norris has a 2.13 ERA/1.18 ERA.
*Since giving up four extra-base hits on April 24 at Milwaukee, Norris has given up one - a homer - in those two starts.
*Bud Norris' OPS-against on the road, 2012: .900. (.536 at home).
*The 1st time through the order, Norris has allowed a .419 OPS. The 2nd time through, though, is .903.
*Norris is 3-4 lifetime in eight starts against the Pirates, with a 4.04 ERA/1.45 WHIP, allowing 7HR, but his 3.80 K:BB ratio v. Pittsburgh is the highest among any team he's faced 2+ times.
*Current Pirates have a .731 OPS against Norris. Michael McKenry has a 1.222 OPS, and Neil Walker has a 1.135 OPS.