Not only did the Baltimore Orioles make a pretty savvy move to bolster their pitching by acquiring Bud Norris in an otherwise sleep-inducing MLB trade deadline, they picked just the right time to do it too.
See, the AL East is a daunting place for pitchers, no matter how good they are; so to have the extra benefit of being able to ease their new starter into his role as a a rotation anchor was important for both the O’s and Norris, who has provided more than what the team has been looking for since stepping across the diamond to take on his former Houston Astros team … just a day after he was traded.
He’d won that game, of course, just like he continued his winning ways on Tuesday against the San Diego Padres, dishing out six innings of one-run ball on five hits, a pair of walks, and five strikeouts. Having notched a pair of quality starts in an O’s uniform, the right-hander’s 2.25/1.08 ERA/WHIP and 9.75 K/9 over his 12 last innings is already a stark contrast from the 6.38/1.58 ERA/WHIP he owned over 24 IP in July.
So, despite the obvious small sample size, that’s a good sign of things to come … right?
Well, that’s one way of looking at it, though the Orioles may not want to get too comfortable with those kinds of numbers just yet.
Yes, Norris has been great; that said, being great against teams like the Astros and Padres (at Petco, no less) are hardly accurate indicators of him being great down the stretch. In fact, that’s not something they might get to find out for another couple of weeks, given that the team is still continuing their run through the relatively weak NL West … without having to face the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers.
That’s pretty good news for the 28-year-old newcomer, who will effectively get at least two more chances against some slumping teams from the NL before the level of competition — and the expectations — are stepped up with the likes of the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, and Boston Red Sox.
By then, there’s a pretty good chance that he’ll be riding a wave of confidence into the gauntlet of the September stretch month — and you know, he’ll probably need it too.