“He was good,” Showalter said following a 6-3 win over the Astros.
“Probably a lot of emotion there. He wants to funnel that. He wants to start well, facing people he knows. I thought he handled it well.
“I saw him over in Houston obviously and watched a lot of tape on him the last month of so. Just attack the strike zone with his fastball. He has the makings of a good changeup. The two home runs were pitches he pulled across the plate. And they were solo home runs.”
Showalter is learning about Norris as he goes along, but he disputed how he may be “unfamiliar” with the right-hander.
“Unfamiliar, that really doesn’t happen much anymore,” he said. “You do so much background work, there are no secrets in baseball. I don’t feel like we’re unfamiliar with him. There’s obviously, until you get somebody, and we all have warts, we all have dents in our armor. Me obviously, as evidenced by today, but I don’t look at it as unfamiliar in today’s game.
“He’s going to get the ball and hopefully can help us get where we want to get. We gave up some good people for him and we think we got somebody back good.
“You want trades to work out for both clubs so the next time you ring their phone, they know you’re a straight shooter.”
Catcher Matt Wieters offered the same assessment of Norris as Showalter did to begin his postgame interview.
“He was good,” Wieters said. “He was able to locate his fastball both in and out and mix in his off-speed, throw his slider behind in the count. It was a good first run. I’m sure he has a lot of adrenaline, a lot of emotion going facing his former team, and especially when you just get traded. He handled it well and threw the ball well.”
Norris and Wieters appeared to be on the same page for most of the night.
“I think it went well,” Wieters said. “There weren’t many shake offs at all tonight. It’s something where he had command of everything, so it makes it easier for a catcher. Any time you can throw off-speed when you’re in fastball counts, it’s going to make it easier.”
Norris received his first career shaving cream pies from Adam Jones and Alexi Casilla.
“I just saw him come up. He seemed to be wearing it well, so to speak,” Showalter said. “You didn’t expect anything less, did you? Mine’s coming, mine’s coming. There’s a reason why they don’t ask me to do anything after the game. I hope it’s late in October.”
Showalter removed Norris after 104 pitches in six innings, turning the game over to Tommy Hunter.
“Tommy had three days off and had thrown seven pitches in three days,” Showalter said. “He (Norris) had done what he was supposed to do and we had a real long inning there. He had thrown 119 pitches his last outing. I didn’t want to go there again. Plus, he had seven days off. I felt like that’s where he should be.”
The bats got the bats going after 15 straight scoreless innings.
“We’ll see,” Showalter said. “It’s a work in progress. It’s hard to do this series and we’re getting ready to face a team as hot as any in baseball. It continues. It’s relentless. You’ve got to be ready for it.
“I know that you go through periods, you search for answers why this happened and why that happened, and then there’s something that happens in our game that you go...that’s why you know it’s the human element. So many things have to come together to be consistently good over a long stretch of time. I was talking to Manny (Machado) today. When things are going well, you try to write down things, how you feel. There’s such an ebb and flow to the season with the emotions you go through. If we knew all those answers, then we’d never lose a game and we’d never not get a hit and would always throw a breaking ball for a strike behind in the count.
“It’s hard to do. That’s what it keeps hitting me is how hard this is to do every day for, really, seven, eight months, seven days a week. It’s not for the weak of heart and the weak of knees. It’s going to challenge you every day, including me, the coaching staff. But you’re in it together and you just keep grinding it. And the baseball gods are usually pretty fair to you if you keep approaching it the way they do.”
As he walked to the clubhouse, Showalter said he thought about Chris Davis recording his 100th RBI of the season. A special moment.
“Pretty cool,” Showalter said. “I’m proud of him. He’s handled it well, the good and the bad. He gets frustrated at things, but to have 100 RBIs and be hitting .300, that’s quite a combo. You’ve heard it 100 times, so don’t roll your eyes, but his contact-to-damage ratio, whether it be doubles or singles or home runs, we’re fortunate to have him. We’re fortunate to have him. He’s been a big part of us being competitive.”