Bud Norris makes his second start with the Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon, doing something he has only done one other time, facing one of his old teams, in the series finale against the Orioles at Dodger Stadium.
Norris pitched for the Orioles for two years in parts of three seasons from August 2013 to August 2015, putting up a 3.65 ERA in 28 starts for a division-winner in 2014, and started two playoff games for them.
He was traded from the Astros, his original organization, to Baltimore on July 31, 2013, and after parts of five seasons with Houston his first start with the Orioles came one day after he was traded, on August 1, against the Astros.
Norris in that start allowed two runs in six innings against his old team, with eight strikeouts in a win.
Wednesday marks the first time since then that Norris will face one of his former teams, which now also include the Padres and Braves as well. In his Dodgers debut on Friday against Colorado, Norris struck out eight in six innings, allowing just two hits, one walk and no runs.
Since rejoining the starting rotation in Atlanta on June 4, Norris has allowed seven runs in six starts, putting up a 1.78 ERA with 37 strikeouts and nine walks. His 56.3-percent ground ball rate during that span is well above his 41.4-percent career mark, and has contributed greatly to his zero home runs allowed in those six starts.
In those six starts, Norris has used his improved cutter 26.3 percent of the time, and hitters are 2-for-25 (.080) with eight strikeouts against that pitch during that time.
Norris has lasted at least six innings in each of his last two starts and in three of his last five outings. Forgive me if this is a broken record, but the Dodgers could sure use a lengthy outing from a starter, especially after 10⅔ innings in the last two nights, and 33⅔ innings in relief over the last nine days.
Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman has 15 strikeouts since his last walk, which was issued on June 20, three starts ago. Gausman has consecutive quality starts and eight on the season, in 14 total starts, with a 2.05 ERA in those starts, with 45 strikeouts and eight walks.
The Orioles are 5-3 when Gausman throws a quality start this season, and 0-6 when he doesn't. Gausman's ERA in those six games is 7.45.
The Dodgers have seen an opposing starting pitcher throw a quality start against them 47 times in 86 games (54.7 percent), including Chris Tillman on Tuesday night. Among National League teams, only the Phillies (57), Braves (51) and Padres (51) have had more quality starts thrown against them, a set that includes the two worst offenses in the league and a team that plays its home games at the pitchers' paradise of Petco Park.
The National League as a whole sees a quality start in just under half of its games (49.4 percent) this year. That is usually a good thing for the pitching team, which has won 67.8 percent of those games.
The Dodgers, thanks to solid pitching of their own, have managed to flip the script and win 24 of those 47 games with a quality start against them, roughly nine games better than the league average given that number of games.
Baltimore's win on Tuesday was its first at Dodger Stadium since Game 2 of the 1966 World Series. The main reason for the drought is the paucity of matchups these two teams have had in the 20 years of interleague play. This is only the second time the Orioles have come to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers, and in the other trip in 2004 they were swept.
The Orioles swept the Dodgers in that 1966 World Series, but that wasn't their first time at Chavez Ravine. They were 15-20 against the Angels in LA when the Halos called Dodger Stadium home from 1962-1965.
Time: 12:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA