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Cardinals Head To Houston

Posted on April 26, 2011 at 10:00 AM
Filed Under: Houston Astros | St. Louis Cardinals
I can't remember the last time a simple April series against a non-contender had so many different storylines, at least for the beginning of the series.

Of course, the overarching one is that Lance Berkman is returning to his roots.  After spending all but a couple of months of his career in a Houston uniform, he comes back to Minute Maid Park as a visitor for the first time.  Houston fans are trying to come to grips with what this means and how they are supposed to feel about it.  

I don't know that Cardinal fans have had quite that kind of situation lately.  Perhaps the first time Matt Morris pitched against the team would have been a good analogy, since Morris, like Berkman, was brought up through the organization and was the face of the franchise for a while.  While the Cardinals have had other fan favorites return (such as Ryan Ludwick most recently), none of them quite hit the level that Berkman did for Houston.

That said, Card fans should have some sympathy for our Houston brethren in this matter.  It might be this time next year when Albert Pujols comes into Busch as a visitor, and while it won't be completely the same situation, some of the same emotions that Astro fans are dealing with would be present for St. Louis fans as well.

Even past that, though, there are other things to watch for.  This is a great opportunity to see how much different the 2011 team is than last year's version.  We all know how the Cardinals struggled against sub-.500 teams last year, teams that they should have beaten on a regular basis.  Can they turn that around this year?  They've already done a fairly good job of that, beating teams like Arizona and Washington, but this will be a good test for them, especially coming off the high off winning the series against the Reds.

Then, tonight, it's Bud Norris.  The man, the myth, the legend.  A player that apparently got to choose which team he would beat to the exclusion of all others and, for some unknown reason, picked St. Louis.  

Here are the numbers offensively that the Cardinals have put up against Norris.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Matt Holliday 19 19 5 1 0 2 5 0 3 .263 .263 .632 .895 0 0 0
Albert Pujols 19 17 4 2 0 0 1 2 3 .235 .316 .353 .669 1 0 0
Colby Rasmus 18 16 4 2 0 1 1 2 5 .250 .333 .563 .896 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 16 14 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 .286 .375 .286 .661 0 1 1
Ryan Theriot 7 7 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .286 .286 .286 .571 0 0 0
Tyler Greene 6 6 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 .333 .333 .500 .833 0 0 0
David Freese 5 5 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 .200 .200 .200 .400 0 0 0
Jon Jay 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Chris Carpenter 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Kyle Lohse 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500 0 0 0
Total 100 93 24 7 0 3 8 5 21 .258 .303 .430 .733 1 1 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/26/2011.

As you can see, there are just not great results there.  That said, this is the line Norris has put up against the Cards in his last two outings against them:

13.2 IP, 14 H, 9 ER, 10 K, 3 BB, 5.93 ERA

Those two games were actually significant as well.  The first was the July 9th game in Houston where Adam Wainwright pitched eight scoreless innings and said afterwards that Norris "wasn't going to beat me", that he was determined not to lose to him again.  The second was an 18-4 win for the Astros in St. Louis on August 3, which was actually a matchup of Norris versus his opponent for tonight, Jaime Garcia.  (Also, the Diamond Diaries girls were at that one, so we completely blame it all on them.)

The way the offense has been going this season, I feel a bit more confident that Norris won't handcuff the team as he has in the past.  Then again, that also may be determined with how Albert Pujols's hamstring is doing.  The team reports no concerns about it, but there's also a possibility he sits tonight or longer.  While Pujols hasn't necessarily had strong numbers against Norris, taking a piece out of this lineup can throw things out of balance, as we saw with Matt Holliday's absence earlier in the month.

Here's what Garcia's done against the Astros:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Jason Bourgeois 3 3 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 .333 .333 .667 1.000 0 0 0
Matt Downs 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .500 .667 .500 1.167 0 0 0
Chris Johnson 3 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .500 .333 .500 .833 0 0 0
Carlos Lee 3 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .667 .667 .667 1.333 0 0 0
Hunter Pence 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Angel Sanchez 3 3 2 1 0 0 2 0 1 .667 .667 1.000 1.667 0 0 0
Bud Norris 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0
Bill Hall 1 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 1.000 1.000 4.000 5.000 0 0 0
Jason Michaels 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0
Total 22 20 10 2 0 1 6 1 4 .500 .500 .750 1.250 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/26/2011.

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1 Comments

1 Comment | Leave a comment

I totally forgot that I saw Norris pitch on Aug. 3. The only pitcher I remember from that night is Aaron Miles!

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Heroes
Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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