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Matchup/Preview/Diary Game # 140 at Brewers


Rogér Clemens   Doug Davis
11 - 6, 1.56    9 - 10, 4.06

So, if the Astros are looking forward to Monday's commencement of the super-huge series with the Marlins as much as I'm looking forward to it, I'm here to tell you that there will occcur at Miller Park this weekend a monstrous smackdown.

The Brewers host this weekend's triplet of games as the hottest offensive team in baseball, and the Astros look past that at their own considerable peril.

Milwaukee leads the NL for September in runs, total bases, slugging, onbase, and therefore OPS.

How better to put this potential for weekend disaster?

Well, how 'bout this: the Brewers have a higher onbase percentage for the month than the Astros' percentage slugging.

That's pretty scary--but it gets worse.

Milwaukee has hit .283 for the month, while the Astros are at a league-worst .202.


And unfortunately, you can't really look to the Brewers' pitching as the equalizer. While not up there with the Astros, Milwaukee's pitching has more than held its own lately, ranking seventh for September in ERA, sixth in WHIP, and sixth in strikeout to walk ratio.

But I do have some good news. Houston DOES lead the NL in home runs for the month, with ten. After I spent much of this space's pre-Phillies series scribbles talking about how un-clutch the 'Stros have been, it has turned out that they are actually the clutchest team in baseball recently. They're so clutch, they hit .202, but win 5 of 7.

Milwaukee's better numbers have not helped them the way you might think, either. Despite the offensive pyrotechnics (mostly by their outfield, natch) and the adequate pitching, Milwaukee is only 4 - 3 for the month. They split a four-game with the Padres at home to start the month, then went out and took two out of three at Cincinnati.

More importantly, the Astros won't be facing Ben Sheets. Sheets went on the DL August 27 with a back thang, and while we wish him a speedy return, we hope it won't be so speedy that he's back for next week's series in Houston.

Though we have to imagine that's certainly possible, as he's eligible to come off the DL Monday.

Doug Davis hasn't won since we last faced him. In fact, he hasn't won in his last fourteen starts, even though eleven of them have been quality. Davis is 1 - 2 against the 'Stros this year, having pitched 20 innings in those three starts, giving up 11 hits and eight runs.

Not sure the fact that we have Roger Clemens going should give us any surcease; the Astros can't win for him when he's healthy, and now, we have the spectre of this hamstring hanging over the assignment.

We could also very well see the return of Morgan Ensberg from his comedic interlude as a M*A*S*H patient, and much more amazingly, the return of Jeff Bagwell. Word was that Bagwell would be activated for tonight's game, and if he is, hard to imagine Garner wouldn't make use of the veteran bat late.

And give Chris Burke a start again, OK Phil?

Big spyglass in the direction of the City of Brotherly Love, where I fully expect the Phillies to get swept by the Fish.

OPS in September
Astro Pos Brewer September
0.683 Brad Ausmus C1 Damian Miller 0.863 x
0.000 Raul Chavez C2 Chad Moeller 0.773 x
x 1.551 Lance Berkman 1B Lyle Overbay 0.894
x 0.750 Craig Biggio 2B Rickie Weeks 0.492
0.367 Adam Everett SS J.J. Hardy 1.280 x
x 0.686 Morgan Ensberg 3B Russell Branyan 0.322
0.511 Jason Lane OF1 Geoff Jenkins 1.314 x
0.446 Luke Scott OF2 Carlos Lee 1.100 x
0.444 Chris Burke OF3 Brady Clark 0.974 x
x 0.387 Willy Taveras OF4 Chris Magruder 0.000
0.891 Mike Lamb Util/PH Billy Hall 0.508 x
0.000 Roger Clemens P1 Doug Davis 0.000
x 2.000 Andy Pettitte P2 Tomo Ohka 0.000 x
x 0.500 Roy Oswalt P3 Rick Helling 0.000 x