Houston Astros struggling with move to American League

USA TODAY Sports

At 15-37 with a struggling pitching staff, the Astros are finding their switch to the AL West quite difficult.

Nobody expected the Houston Astros to be good in 2013, but a big step back taken by the team's top two pitchers has resulted in an even worse than expected performance in the club's first season in the American League.

Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell were two of the bright spots on abysmal Astros teams over the past couple of years. Although Norris finished below-average in terms of ERA+ a year ago, he struck out nearly a batter per inning, keeping up a with a trend he started in his rookie year in 2009. Norris' main problem as a big-leaguer has been a propensity for giving up the long ball, and probably has sprinkled in a few too many walks.


Bud Norris

#20 / Pitcher / Houston Astros

6-0

220

R

R

Mar 02, 1985


W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Bud Norris 4-4 3.71 1.51 38 23


Harrell turned in 193.2 innings of above-average baseball in 2012, using solid groundball rates and avoiding walks enough to help his cause. He didn't strike out a ton of batters, but generally showed an ability to get outs when he needed to, contributing to a downright-solid 3.76 ERA.

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Fast forward to 2013, Norris and Harrell are struggling in their own ways. Through 11 starts -- a fairly decent sample size -- Norris' ability to strike batters out has reduced dramatically, while Harrell can't find the strike zone and has allowed almost as many home runs as he did all of last year.

Norris has avoided the long ball enough to maintain a 3.71 ERA/114 ERA+, but if the home run rate normalizes and he's not able to make up for it by improving other peripherals, he could be in for some trouble as the season wears on.


Lucas Harrell

#64 / Pitcher / Houston Astros

6-2

210

B

R

Jun 03, 1985


W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Lucas Harrell 3-6 5.43 1.76 33 33


Harrell has walked a league-worst 33 batters (and has only struck out that many) and is allowing 10.7 hits per nine innings. His 5.43 ERA is a far cry from his numbers a year ago, but the good news for the Astros is that he is still very adept at getting grounders. Now, if they could only stop finding holes ...

Offensively, the Astros have their fair share of issues. Jason Castro is enjoying a fine season behind the dish and Jose Altuve continues to hit for a great batting average, but there hasn't been a whole lot there otherwise. Chris Carter leads the team with nine homers, but also leads the world in strikeouts and has a .296 on-base percentage. Carlos Pena, the team's main offensive acquisition during the offseason, was brought in to provide pop and hasn't shown it so far, posting a .352 slugging percentage.

It is worth noting that, in limited playing time, the trio of Brandon Barnes, Carlos Corporan and Ronny Cedeno has been productive; each boasts an OPS+ of greater than 100, with Corporan's 144 on a .311/.391/.508 batting line leading the bunch.

For more on the Astros, head over to Crawfish Boxes, and also be sure to check out their crossover podcast with Purple Row, featuring our very own Greg Stanwood and the old boss, Andrew Martin.

*****

Probable pitchers

Game 1 in Houston: Monday, May 27 at 12:10 p.m. MT (ROOT Sports) | Astros win, 3-2 in 12 innings

W: Paul Clemens (2-2); L: Wilton Lopez (1-2)

Game 2 in Houston: Tuesday, May 28 at 12:10 p.m. MT (no TV) | Rockies win, 2-1

W: Matt Belisle (2-2); L: Jose Veras (0-4); S: Rafael Betancourt (11)

Game 3 in Denver: Wednesday, May 29 at 6:40 p.m. MT (ROOT Sports)

Erik Bedard (0-2, 5.68 ERA) vs. Tyler Chatwood (3-0, 1.90 ERA)

Game 4 in Denver: Thursday, May 30 at 6:40 p.m. MT (ROOT Sports)

Lucas Harrell (3-6, 5.43) vs. Juan Nicasio (4-1, 4.38)

*****


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Lucas Harrell 11 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .500 .500 .500
Jake Elmore 3 11 1 4 1 0 0 1 0 3 0 1 .364 .364 .455
Ronny Cedeno 23 67 10 21 4 0 1 9 3 15 1 0 .313 .347 .418
Carlos Corporan 20 61 8 19 3 0 3 8 5 16 0 0 .311 .391 .508
Jose Altuve 48 196 21 60 11 1 2 21 13 24 7 3 .306 .346 .403
Brandon Barnes 35 69 9 21 4 0 2 10 7 24 4 3 .304 .385 .449
Jason Castro 44 162 21 46 13 0 6 15 13 45 1 0 .284 .335 .475
J.D. Martinez 33 108 10 27 10 0 5 18 5 30 1 0 .250 .281 .481
Matt Dominguez 48 178 20 43 8 0 7 24 6 31 0 0 .242 .273 .404
Justin Maxwell 20 77 8 18 5 2 1 6 5 22 2 1 .234 .289 .390
Marwin Gonzalez 40 130 17 30 7 0 3 10 5 25 4 1 .231 .257 .354
Carlos Pena 50 165 24 38 9 1 3 12 28 51 0 1 .230 .342 .352
Jimmy Paredes 19 58 4 13 4 0 1 7 4 19 1 2 .224 .270 .345
Chris Carter 50 173 23 37 3 1 9 25 20 75 0 0 .214 .296 .399
Brandon Laird 11 35 3 7 2 0 2 5 2 13 0 0 .200 .243 .429
Trevor Crowe 15 35 4 7 0 0 1 2 3 8 1 1 .200 .263 .286
Robbie Grossman 28 111 10 22 5 0 0 3 16 31 2 4 .198 .310 .243
Rick Ankiel 25 62 6 12 3 0 5 11 3 35 0 0 .194 .231 .484
Fernando Martinez 11 33 1 6 0 0 1 3 1 12 0 0 .182 .229 .273
Brett Wallace 7 24 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 17 0 0 .042 .115 .042
Wesley Wright 27 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jordan Lyles 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jose Cisnero 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Erik Bedard 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jose Veras 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Dallas Keuchel 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Rhiner Cruz 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Philip Humber 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Hector Ambriz 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Travis Blackley 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Bud Norris 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Brad Peacock 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Xavier Cedeno 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Josh Fields 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Paul Clemens 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Brett Oberholtzer 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Edgar Gonzalez 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Josh Fields 0-0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.00 .00
Jose Cisnero 1-0 9 0 0 0 0 1 23.0 21 10 8 2 6 19 3.13 1.17
Travis Blackley 0-0 18 0 0 0 0 0 19.2 15 8 8 4 11 18 3.66 1.32
Bud Norris 4-4 11 11 0 0 0 0 63.0 72 31 26 5 23 38 3.71 1.51
Wesley Wright 0-1 27 0 0 0 0 1 21.1 27 10 9 1 5 18 3.80 1.50
Paul Clemens 2-2 16 0 0 0 0 1 31.0 27 16 15 8 8 23 4.35 1.13
Rhiner Cruz 0-1 14 0 0 0 0 0 14.1 20 8 7 2 9 6 4.40 2.02
Jordan Lyles 2-1 6 6 0 0 0 0 32.0 37 17 16 3 12 23 4.50 1.53
Jose Veras 0-4 22 0 0 0 8 3 22.0 15 11 11 2 10 23 4.50 1.14
Hector Ambriz 1-2 25 0 0 0 0 2 23.2 28 17 13 3 8 19 4.94 1.52
Dallas Keuchel 1-2 10 4 0 0 0 0 40.2 52 30 23 7 17 26 5.09 1.70
Lucas Harrell 3-6 11 11 0 0 0 0 58.0 69 36 35 8 33 33 5.43 1.76
Erik Bedard 0-2 10 8 0 0 1 0 38.0 41 24 24 9 20 38 5.68 1.61
Edgar Gonzalez 0-1 5 0 0 0 0 0 10.0 17 9 8 4 3 8 7.20 2.00
Brett Oberholtzer 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.0 3 2 2 2 0 0 9.00 1.50
Brad Peacock 1-3 6 5 0 0 0 0 22.0 29 23 23 7 13 19 9.41 1.91
Philip Humber 0-8 9 7 0 0 0 1 35.2 57 38 38 7 15 20 9.59 2.02
Xavier Cedeno 0-0 5 0 0 0 0 0 6.1 10 11 8 0 7 3 11.37 2.68


Houston Astros Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Josh Fields forearm 04/04/2013

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