Houston Astros: Bud Norris (5-10; 5.23 ERA)
Norris has been positively woeful since starting the season 5-1. Since then, the Astros are 1-12 in his starts, and has allowed 3 or more earned runs in 10 of those starts despite only going more than 6 IP three times. He’s made two starts this year against the Cards: one before the turn of his season and one after. In his first start he went 7 IP and allowed just 3 H and 0 ER, but in the second start he went just 6 IP, allowing 3 ER. Based on Norris’ last 13 starts, it seems both reasonable and fair to believe that the worse Norris will show up tonight.
St. Louis Cardinals: Kyle Lohse (12-2; 2.61 ERA)
Kyle has allowed just 1 ER over his last 3 starts (19.2 IP), and, like Adam Wainwright, has seemingly found his groove heading down the stretch. This bodes well for Cards and provides a solid, albeit unexpected, 1-2 punch. However, in his one start against Houston this year he went just 5 IP and allowed 5 runs, by no means a great outing. If he stays true to more recent form, this time around could be a much more successful appearance.
THE SKINNY: Kyle Lohse is too much for Bud Norris to match, especially given the trends that both pitchers are following. Kyle needs to avoid stooping to his competition’s level, and pitch at the level the Cards organization knows he can.