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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 8th (All times Eastern)
Colorado Rockies (1-1) at Houston Astros (1-1), 2:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Colorado - Juan Nicasio (0-0, 0.00) Houston - Bud Norris (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - Juan Nicasio will complete his miracle journey back to the mound this afternoon when the Colorado Rockies hurler gets the start in the finale of a three-game series with the Houston Astros.
It was just over eight months ago when the 25-year-old Nicasio's career was put in doubt after he took a line drive off the head in a game versus the Nationals. Nicasio suffered a fractured skull and a shattered C-1 vertebrae, ending his rookie season after 13 starts.
The right-hander produced a 4-4 record with a 4.14 earned run average and not only made it back to the mound in spring training, but he pitched well. Nicasio went 2-0 with a 3.90 ERA in six appearances and his manager isn't worried about his past injury hindering him on the mound today.
"Juan Nicasio is way past what took place last year," manager Jim Tracy told Colorado's website. "Juan Nicasio's mind is not only on pitching for us, but pitching successfully."
Making his season debut for the Astros will be right-hander Bud Norris, who begins his third full season in the majors.
Norris won nine games but pitched to a near 5.00 ERA in 2010. The 27-year-old righty was able to lower that ERA to 3.77 in 31 starts last year, but produced just a 6-11 record. Norris also struck out 176 over 186 innings.
He has faced the Rockies just once before and did not get a decision, allowing four earned runs over five innings with six hits and four walks.
The Astros set up today's rubber match by powering to a 7-3 victory over the Rockies on Saturday. J.D. Martinez drove in three runs, including a two-run homer and Jordan Schafer also took Colorado starter Jamie Moyer deep in the game.
Lucas Harrell, acquired off waivers from the Chicago White Sox last July, tossed seven innings of three-hit, ball for Houston in the win.
"What an outing," said Astros manager Brad Mills. "He just didn't allow them to get anything going. We couldn't have asked for more."
At age 49, Moyer (0-1) became the oldest pitcher to appear in a game since the Dodgers' Hoyt Wilhelm on July 10, 1972, but his first outing since returning from Tommy John Surgery didn't go as planned.
He gave up four runs -- three earned -- on five hits and one walk in five innings.
"I don't think he pitched that badly at all," said Tracy.
Colorado, which won Friday's opener 5-3, committed three errors in the game and didn't score until the final two innings. Michael Cuddyer hit his first homer in a Rockies uniform in the eighth, a solo shot, while Troy Tulowitzki tripled home a run in the ninth and Todd Helton added an RBI groundout.
The Rockies won five of seven over the Astros last season, with the clubs splitting a four-game set in Houston from Sept. 22-25.
04/08 10:29:05 ET
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