Bud Norris is the Right Choice for Opening Night Start

By Lee White
Houston Astros Bud Norris
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Bud Norris, starting pitcher of the Houston Astros, was the right choice for the Opening Night start against the Texas Rangers. No, he Norris didn’t have a better year than Lucas Harrell, but he was a much better pitcher at home than Harrell. No, you can’t just take home stats into account when you’re choosing an Opening Night starter, but that is not all that Houston Astros manager Bo Porter looked at. I don’t like to speak for Porter, but I believe that Norris gives the Astros the best chance to beat the Rangers at home.

Earlier I said you couldn’t just take home stats into account, and you can’t. You have to actually watch his starts, and see how he did in those starts. At home last season, Norris had four wins and one loss in eleven games, and he was just completely dominant posting a 1.71 ERA. In a different article, I mentioned the fact that Norris almost set a record with his ERA at home. He had a low, almost the lowest ever, ERA at home last season, and he just blew hitters away. He had ten strikeouts per nine innings compared to 7.9 strikeouts away from Minute Maid Park. On top of that, last year when he was pitching at an away park, he only had 1.69 strikeouts per walk. In other words, for every strikeout, he walked someone. Obviously, that isn’t exactly the case, but it was close. However, when he was pitching at Minute Maid Park, he averaged 4.82 strikeouts per walk. That is a huge difference!

That isn’t exactly going to repeat, and may mean absolutely nothing, but Norris gives the Astros the best chance to win at home. At least last year he did.  With the Astros starting Norris on Opening Night, that means he will have two home games to start the year. Obviously every pitcher is more comfortable at home, but Astros fans really saw that last season. It may continue this year, and if it does, Bud Norris was the best choice for the Astros Opening Night starter. However, if we were talking about the best starter on the Astros, that would be Lucas Harrell. No doubt about that at all.

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