If I can keep it up all month, 31 days of positive posts! There's going to be enough negativity going around with the Cardinals not in the post-season.
Before the Cardinals acquired Bud Norris, he had a 2017 that was quite interesting for him. You see, Norris was a starter for a while. From 2009-2016, Norris started at least 10 games a year and had 5 straight seasons of 27+ games started in that stretch. He began to be much more of a swing man in 2015-2016, but in 2017 that really flip flopped on it's head compared to the beginning of his career. You see, he started just 3 games for the Angels in 2017. He finished 35 games that year. He had only finished 10 games in his career up to that point.
Fairly early in the 2017 season, Bud Norris worked his way into the closer role for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In his first 41 games, he finished 28 of them saving 15 of them, recording 3 holds, and blowing just 2 saves garnering 2 losses. He also won one game. He had a .561 OPS against and a K:BB above 3. His ERA was 2.23. He lasted until July 23rd with very good results. Then, he hit a wall. There was talk he might have had some lingering injuries but the remainder of the year he appeared in 19 games but was not the same pitcher. He had an OPS against over .900, a K:BB below 2, an ERA of nearly 8, and had only 4 saves to 2 blown saves, going along with just 1 win and 2 losses. He finished games in only 7 of 16 relief appearances and he got 3 starts in September. Basically, he only "lasted" until 7/23/17 that year - his first year where he started the year fully expecting to be used all year in relief.
In 2018, he signed with our Cardinals and wasn't expected to be in a late innings role, at least not at the beginning. Opportunities were going to go to Tyler Lyons and Luke Gregerson and Dominic Leone - all who got hurt. Opportunities were also going to go to Jordan Hicks, Mike Mayers, and John Brebbia - young(er) guys showing a bit of upside. In the first 11 games of the season, Norris got used 6 times and earned a hold and a save while keeping hitters to a .600 OPS and striking out 45% of the batters he faced. With others going down with injury, with Matheny and Mozeliak not seeing eye to eye on who should be up on the roster, and with others faltering, Norris took over the closer role. From game 1 through August 28, 2018, Norris pitched in 56 of 132 team games, had an OPS against of .600, struck out over 5 men for every walk he issued, earned a 2.85 ERA, and had 28 saves and 2 holds to just 4 blown saves. He was also 3-3. The club was 45-11 in the 56 games in which he had pitched. He had already finished 41 games - nearly matching the totals for the rest of his entire career. Then, it happened again. Arm trouble (tired arm, sore arm, whatever you want to call it) derailed his season again. In September, Norris couldn't stay "right" and the results were MUCH more disastrous than the year before. The positive in all of this, in his second year solely relieving (or at least with that intention in mind), Norris lasted a month longer than the prior season. Norris has discussed his desire to come back to the Cardinals, to end his career in St. Louis. Coming into a season for the third time in a row with the intention of relieving the entire season might be the year that gets him through the entire thing - at least the regular season. If the Cardinals can add anyone that can take some of the pressure off him throughout the year as well, maybe it can last him deep into October. That's the positive of this longer story above about the recent portion of the career of Bud Norris.
Positive October Day 27, in the books!
In case you missed them: