Starting in place of Clatyon Kershaw, who was forced to the 15-day disabled list because of a minor disc herniation, Bud Norris did his best to fill the void for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
The right-hander tossed six scoreless innings, matching a season high with eight strikeouts, and holding the Colorado Rockies to just two hits. Despite the whirlwind that came with being traded to the Dodgers, Norris threw an efficient 88 pitches.
“I felt good and had a good plan. I got to sit down with (Dodgers pitching coach Rick) Honeycutt and [Yasmani Grandal], go over a plan and what’s been working for me recently,” Norris said after the Dodgers’ ninth shutout victory of the season.
“I just went out there and executed, really stuck with Yas for the whole game, and it was just a good battle. I’ll take the win.” He learned of the trade Thursday afternoon and took the mound at Dodger Stadium the following night on minimal sleep and without having thrown a usual bullpen session.
The outing nonetheless was the latest in what’s been an impressive stretch of starts for Norris since he returned to the Atlanta Braves rotation last month. Coincidentally, that came against the Dodgers on June 4.
“I’ve really been working on my mechanics, trying to stay over the rubber and time everything up,” Norris said. “It’s a big one to consistently get your hand at the same spot and have everything come out of the same slot.”
The right-hander improved to 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA AND 37 strikeouts over 35.1 innings pitched in his last six starts. Opponents hit a lowly .184/.244/.234 off Norris during that stretch. “There were a lot of good things from him,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“We felt he was a frontline guy the way he was throwing the baseball his last three or four turns.” The trade didn’t come as much of a surprise for Norris. “I knew going into spring this was a likelihood, I just didn’t know where I would end up,” he said.
The Northern California native also joked his immediate thoughts on the deal centered around his father. “My dad is not going to be happy,” Norris said with a laugh. He added he’s otherwise glad to be back on the West Coast and part of a pennant race.