From Chuck Booth: Lee White sent this to me on late Saturday Night – no joke. I am still on vacation and watching the Dodgers Season Opener today (Cain vs Kershaw), but attest to this.
The Houston Astros will take the diamond at 7:10 local time to square off against the Texas Rangers. Everyone is looking past the Astros, and for good reason. The Astros have lost 213 games over the past two season, but are looking for a change of fortune in 2013. It won’t be easy for ex cellar dweller of the NL Central. The Astros are now in a tougher division, but can still improve on the field of play. But forget all that. It is Opening Night!
Baseball is back, and the games finally mean something again. Everyone has a fresh clean slate, and are looking to improve on their past seasons. Forget what teams did what last year, that doesn’t matter anymore.
When the Astros play the Rangers tonight, I fully believe the Astros may be able to surprise some people. They have arguably the best pitcher (at home) that you can have taking the mound in Bud Norris.
Last season Norris was terrible, unless he was pitching at home. My ‘Stros Bro and I, Richard Perez, had a bit of a debate about Bud pitching Opening Night instead of Lucas Harrell, and there is no way around what Norris can do at home. Last season at home, he went 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA.
He came extremely close to setting a franchise record for ERA at home last year. How can you not pitch him for Opening Night? Especially since, you know, it is at Minute Maid Park. I predict that manger Bo Porter may stretch Norris out a bit in his first start and let him go seven innings. If he can make it that far, he’ll go seven innings and give up one run and help propel the Astros to victory.
Another reason I think the Astros can beat the Rangers on Opening Night is because they’re facing Matt Harrison. Harrison was a pretty good pitcher for the Rangers last season, I’m not trying to belittle what he can do.
But, he has never pitched well against the Astros. In fact, in four outings, two starts, he is 0-1 with a 5.04 ERA against the boys from Houston. Harrison isn’t exactly a veteran either. So he has been facing the rebuilding Houston Astros, especially as a starter.
One more reason why I think the Astros can win. Here it is: Offense. The Astros haven’t had it the past few years, but with the addition of Chris Carter, and a little from Carlos Pena, they will get some offense. Yes, they will also strike out a ton, but tomorrow night against the Rangers, I believe we may see a few long balls from the Astros.
Houston will have the little hit machine, Jose Altuve, leading off with Brett Wallace following, and then probably Chris Carter in the three hole. Carter will probably be the Astros biggest bat in the lineup, so Brett Wallace will see his fare share of pitches. Especially if Altuve is on base. The Rangers will try to make Brett Wallace earn his way on base, and Wallace can run into a baseball. He is no slouch.
I’m not predicting a blowout, but I may be one of the few people who actually believe the Astros can win tonight against the Rangers. They will need to put it all together though. Pitching will be the main key as Bud Norris will need to shut the Rangers potent lineup down if the Astros want to have a chance to shock the baseball world on Opening Night.