Game 66, Astros at Mariners
Aaron Harang vs. Bud Norris, 7:10pm
Bud Norris was once a big-time (er, semi-big time) strikeout artist. A fastball/slider pitcher who mixes in a few change-ups to lefties, Norris racked up whiffs with his sharp slider, but yielded a fair number of homers-allowed. This year, his strikeouts are down markedly (like, 21-24% to 15%). But he’s also managed to *halve* his HR rate.
I know HRs are bad for pitchers and all, but this is something of a worrying trend for Houston fans. K% stabilizes much more quickly, so there’s a (good) chance that his HR rate regresses to his career numbers and he’s left with the worst of both worlds. Still, that seems too easy, too SABR-by-er,-numbers. The combination looks like a conscious choice, a trade off, even if its not obvious exactly what the terms were. He’s still throwing 50% sliders and 50% fastballs to righties, it’s just he’s given up zero HRs to them instead of lots.
1: Chavez, RF
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Liddi, 1B
5: Ibanez, LF
6: Morse, DH
7: Shoppach, C
8: Saunders, CF
9: Ryan, SS
The corresponding move to the Zunino call-up was, as expected, DFAing Brandon Bantz.
Alex Liddi takes the place of Kendrys Morales, who was a late scratch with his sore back.