Saturday MLB Preview – Brewers at Astros

The new-look Astros look to win the second game of this series against NL Central rivals at Minute Maid Park.

Milwaukee Brewers at Houston Astros

Milwaukee is set to play the second game of a six-game road trip, as they are playing the fifth game of a 12-game stretch that sees them playing all divisional opponents.  The Brewers suffered a 5-0 shutout loss last night, dropping their record to 20-25 versus the NL Central (-760).  The team has gone 109-94 against divisional opponents the last three years (+560) and the total is 94-91 O/U in those contests.  The Brewers have played an equal amount of games at home and on the road, going 24-28 in both situations.  The team is actually hitting 21 points higher on the road (.270) that at home this year (.249).  Milwaukee is 21-22 this year when playing against a team with a losing record, but that mark is 7-3 since the All-Star break.  It’s also important to note that the team is 12-13 this month (-40) and 37-41 in July the last three years (-1,020).

Brewers starting pitcher Dave Bush is 5-8 with a 4.27 ERA in 21 appearances (20 starts) this season and he looks to win two straight for the first time since June 25.  The right-hander picked up an 8-3 home victory over the Nationals last time out, giving up three runs (two earned) and six hits over six innings.  He is 2-4 with a 4.41 ERA in 10 road outings (nine starts) this season, managing to walk 19 batters and strike out 23 in 49 frames.  In 15 career outings (13 starts) against the Astros, Bush stands at 6-2 with a 3.23 ERA, including an 0-1 mark and 1.64 ERA in two starts this season.  He is an even 1-1 with a 4.10 ERA in seven lifetime appearances at Minute Maid Park.

Houston is clearly in a rebuilding process after trading away franchise pieces Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt this week.  The Astros own a 26-20 record versus the NL Central this season (+1,370) and they are currently in the midst of 27 straight games against divisional foes.  The club is 100-102 against the division the last three years (+1,140) with the total being 75-116 O/U in that span.  After posting a 17-34 mark through May 31st, the Astros are 26-25 since June 1.  With a victory in tonight’s contest, Houston can finish the month with a winning record (12-11, +320).  The team is 4-3 against the Brewers this season and 51-28 when hosting them at Minute Maid Park.

Astros starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez is 8-11 with a 4.80 ERA in 20 starts this season and has won five out of his last six starts.  The left-hander if 5-1 with a 2.31 ERA in his last six outings, allowing opponents to hit for a .201 average.  He began the season with a 3-10 mark and 6.09 ERA in 14 games before this current hot streak.  Rodriguez has allowed three earned runs or less in 13 of his 20 starts this season.  He is an even 5-5 with a 3.63 ERA in 10 starts at home this season and 36-26 with a 3.61 ERA in 83 career games at the venue.  In six games (five starts) in his career against the Brewers in Houston, he is 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA.

Bettors must acknowledge that the Brewers have lost their last four road games versus left-handed starters and are 14-19 against southpaws this season overall (-660).  That hasn’t always been the case, with Milwaukee being 68-58 against lefties the last three seasons (+240).  After shutting out their opponent, the Astros have dropped all four games this season and the total is 2-2 O/U in those contests.

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