Astros need young pitchers to step up
Bud Norris struggled with his control Tuesday against the Reds, walking four batters and hitting one more in six-plus innings of work. He took the loss to fall to 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA through four starts. Right-hander Felipe Paulino will carry an 0-2 record and 5.94 ERA into his fourth start Wednesday against the Reds.
With Roy Oswalt on top of his game, Wandy Rodriguez getting better by the start and Brett Myers pitching in and out of trouble to keep his team competitive nearly every start, the Astros’ chances of staying relevant in the NL Central could fall into the hands of Norris and Paulino.
At this time last year, the Astros had Mike Hampton, Russ Ortiz and Brian Moehler at the bottom of the rotation, so they’re in much better shape with Norris and Paulino. Both of them have tremendous stuff and the ability to dominate, and their best years are still ahead of them, unlike Hampton and Ortiz.
Norris has just 14 Major League starts under his belt and has been up and down, and Paulino has started only 23 games in his career and this year has pitched better than the numbers have indicated. If this is the year one of them or — dare we say? — both of them figure it all out, the Astros have the makings of a pretty good rotation in the future. Perhaps that future begins Wednesday.