Astros right-hander Bud Norris has been so good against the Cardinals over the years–and so mediocre against just about everyone else–that St. Louis scribes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch and Matthew Leach of MLB.com have a running joke with fans on Twitter about his dominance using the hashtag #BudChuck.
Norris did it again last night, shutting out the Cardinals for 7.1 innings after coming into the game 5-13 with a 5.05 ERA this season, out-dueling Chris Carpenter while snapping an 18-start winless streak.
For his career Norris now has a 2.74 ERA in 15 starts versus St. Louis, compared to a 4.83 ERA in 81 starts versus all other teams. That includes yearly ERAs of 0.00, 3.38, 2.52, and now 3.52 against the Cardinals.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.