The Milwaukee Brewers (45-56) will take on the Houston Astros (35-68) for a series that means little in the National League Central division standings. The Brewers are coming off a series loss to the Washington Nationals, no surprise there, while the Astros finally won a game to end their dismal 12-game losing streak.
Monday July 30, 2012
Marco Estrada (0-3, 4.80 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (1-7, 6.45 ERA)
Marco Estrada is still searching for his first win of the season and it appears he has a good chance of getting it against Bud Norris and the Astros. Estrada was roughed up against the Philadelphia Phillies last Wednesday in which he surrendered five earned runs on eight hits in four innings pitched. He has given up 11 earned runs in his last three outings, but pitched well against Houston prior to those starts. Against the Astros on July 8, he did not give up a run or a hit in three innings in a relief appearance.
Like most of the Houston pitchers this season, Norris has struggled tremendously on the mound. His only win came against the Chicago Cubs on May 21 in which he did not allow a run on five hits. That is the last time he had a scoreless outing as he has given up 38 runs since then. The reality is with the exception of two starts in which he gave up 9 runs each Norris should have more wins under his belt. He snapped his losing streak of seven games last Wednesday but still took a no-decision after surrendering only one run.
Tuesday July 31, 2012
Yovani Gallardo (8-8, 4.07 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-3, 4.63 ERA)
Yovani Gallardo is once again the head of the rotation with Zack Greinke now playing for the Los Angeles Angels. Gallardo went 17 straight starts with at least seven innings pitched but has fallen off that wagon as he has gone a combined 10 2/3 in his last two outings. Gallardo also avoided the big inning but has not been able to do that as he has surrendered 16 hits and 11 runs in those two starts. Hopefully, he does not spoil a good opportunity to get back on track against a reeling Astros team.
Dallas Keuchel allowed only three earned runs in his first three major league starts, including a complete game. Since then he has allowed 15 earned runs and has been unable to keep runners off the base paths. He does not have strikeout pitches but he is certainly capable of getting outs when necessary. It is a toss-up which version of Keuchel the Brewers will face, but for their sake, they should be ready for anything.
Wednesday August 1, 2012
Michael Fiers (4-4, 1.77 ERA) vs. Jordan Lyles (2-7, 5.54 ERA)
Michael Fiers looks to continue dominating in his rookie campaign. The Brewers have struck gold with Fiers, as he has certainly been a pleasant surprise. It is not that Milwaukee did not think he was talented enough to pitch at the professional level it is the fact he hardly gives up runs that has the organization excited. Fiers has a 0.77 ERA in his last four starts and has been mostly lights out since getting called up to the majors. He recorded a much deserved victory on Friday, his first since June 30.
Jordan Lyles had a rough July in which he posted a 7.22 ERA and gave up six home runs as he looks to get a fresh start in August. The Astros are 2-12 when Lyles is on the mound as a lack of run support and Lyles giving up several runs in each game being the two major factors. He did receive a no-decision against Milwaukee on July 8 when he allowed only two earned runs on six hits in seven innings pitched.