For the second time in less than a week, a Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher who came off the disabled list struggled in his outing. While Bud Norris pitched deeper into his start than Brett Anderson managed to, Norris was hardly successful.
The first five Cincinnati Reds hitters of the game all reached. Billy Hamilton drew a leadoff walk in the first inning, Ivan De Jesus Jr. singled, then Joey Votto hit a fly ball to center field that carried enough for a three-run homer.
Brandon Phillips and Eugenio Suarez both singled after the home run, though Norris did manage to get out of the inning without allowing any further damage. He retired the side in order in the second and third innings but ran into more trouble in the fourth.
Cincinnati scored three more runs and took a 6-0 lead on a Dodgers team that had already squandered multiple opportunities with men on base and runners in scoring position. Jesse Chavez came on in relief with two outs in the fourth inning.
Although he did not want to use it as an excuse, Norris said the condition of the mound negatively affected him, via Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA:
“The second warm-up pitch of the game, I was on the first-base side, and (Reds starter Tim) Adleman was on the third-base side, and unfortunately a big piece of clay came out. It happens, it’s part of playing in the dirt. … You’re really trying to have your back foot planted and drive off that back leg. I never really got comfortable. But it’s not really an excuse. You’ve got to go out there and play the game.”
Norris halted his warmup tosses in the first inning and asked the grounds crew to work on the mound after he noticed clay was missing. While the surfaced was repaired, the right-hander hardly looked comfortable during the opening frame.
Norris also grew agitated with home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez’s strike zone, which prompted Yasmani Grandal to tell Norris to control his emotions prior to the second inning beginning.
The 31-year-old is now 3-3 with a 5.51 ERA, 4.59 FIP and 1.41 WHIP in eight games (seven starts) since being traded to the Dodgers in June. Friday’s game was the second time in that span Norris has been charged with six runs.