By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
11:38 PM EDT, August 23, 2013
When the Orioles dealt for Bud Norris on July 31, they had a pretty good sense of what they were getting.
He’s another solid, not flashy guy in the rotation who will give up some hits and some runs, but, for the most part, deliver fairly quality starts and keep the Orioles in the game.
He’s from the Orioles’ school of bend-but-don’t-break starting pitchers. And that’s what he did in his first three games in a Baltimore uniform, going 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA. In his past two starts -- not including his relief stint in the 14th inning of a loss Aug. 14 – Norris, however, is 1-0 with a 9.90 ERA.
In those first three starts, he allowed 15 hits, six walks and five earned runs in 17 innings; in his last two, 18 hits, six walks and 11 earned runs in 10 innings. Friday night was his worst performance as an Oriole.
“I felt like the two home runs balls were bad pitches, but I felt like there were a lot of other good pitches in their too,” said Norris, who allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. “Sometimes, it’s maybe the pitch sequence and so forth and doubling up on certain pitches. But it’s something I’m going to look back (at) and then talk to (Matt) Wieters about and hopefully we can go from there.”
Anyone can have two rocky outings, so there’s no reason to think Norris can’t rebound in his next game. But the thing that was most alarming about Norris’ start Friday was that he immediately coughed up a three-run lead.
The Orioles were trailing 3-0 in the fourth when they scored six runs – on a two-run homer by Adam Jones and a Brian Roberts grand slam. Immediately, Norris gave it back, allowing the A’s to score four runs in the fifth on three singles, two walks and a double. That was tough for him, he said.
“Absolutely, any time you get a lead like that, a six-run inning, it’s huge from an offensive standpoint. And from a team standpoint, I wanted to go back out there and shut the door,” Norris said. “But they just kept swinging the bats. You’ve got to credit the other team for that. I’m throwing the ball over the plate, because that’s my job and I want to get groundball outs and everything else. But you’ve got to credit the offense over there and the way they swung the bats, so I tip my cap.”
It was the second shortest stint of the season for Norris; in the shortest he allowed six runs in just 2/3 of an inning on April 17. That, too, was against the A’s.
“They’ve got [my] number against me this year. I know early in the year I lasted about 2/3s [of an inning] gave up six, so that’s a good ballclub there. They are in the pennant race for a reason,” Norris said. “It’s one of those quirky things. There’re a couple teams out there that have done that to me. There are other teams I have done very well against. I think that’s part of baseball and anything can happen. I don’t know if they see the ball better off me or what it may be. But I’m going to learn from this one and keep trucking along.”
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