The Astros move on to St. Louis tonight, where they open a quick two-game series against the Cardinals. They can only hope Bud Norris can throw a complete game in tonight’s series opener.
Norris (2-2, 3.42 ERA) will try to go the distance one day after watching the Astros bullpen blow its 11th save of the season in a 3-1 loss to the Braves. He and Tuesday’s starter, Wandy Rodriguez, have been the team’s most consistent starters lately. Rodriguez pitched eight innings of shutout baseball Tuesday before the bullpen meltdown. Norris has given up just seven earned runs over his last four starts. He only has one win to show for his efforts though.
That’s been the story of the Astros season. The Elias Sports Bureau reports the Astros are the first team to blow 11 of their first 16 save opportunities since baseball went to four divisions in 1969. The Astros do have one thing going for them though. Norris has had more success against the Cardinals than any team in baseball. He’s 5-1 with a 1.97 ERA in seven career starts against the Astros division rivals. Tony LaRussa sends Kyle Lohse (4-2, 2.31 ERA) to the mound tonight. Lohse has had some hard luck of his own recently. The Cardinals bullpen has blown leads in each of his last two starts.