So we meet again.
Since these two teams last meet, a whole one series ago, the Brewers dropped two of three to the Cincinnati Reds at home. The Hebrew Hammer AKA Ryan Braun has cooled off a bit with only three hits in the series. However, two of those hits were homeruns.
The good news for the Brewers is that Corey Hart has finally returned and went 2 for 6 with a strikeout in the series against the Reds. For his career against the Astros he has a .332/.385/.600 triple slash line in 70 games, but he's not the player the Astros need to be concerned with, that honor should go to Rickie Weeks. Since his day off, due to a minor ding in the middle game of the last series against Houston, he has had two hits in every game. For the season he has a .411 wOBA, a 156 wRC+ and a .343 BABiP which hopefully begins to regress this series. Couple that with Braun (.490 wOBA) and Prince Fielder (.419 wOBA) and the enigmatic pitching staff will have plenty to worry about this weekend.
Speaking of pitching we'll see a rematch of the game 2 from last series, in the first game of this series, with Brett Myers going for the Astros and Shaun Marcum taking the mound for the Brewers. To refresh your memory each pitcher went at least 6 innings giving up 4+ runs with both receiving no decisions. Marcum threw 96 pitches, struck out eight while only walking one. He probably could of gone farther, but was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning.
For Saturday's meeting, Randy Wolf will again take the mound to face off against Wandy Rodriguez. Wolf has pitched well so far this year with a 2.64 ERA, resulting in a 3-2 record. His 4.14 FIP indicates he's been rather lucky this year, but he's made a career out of regularly beating his FIP numbers, so don't expect him to just suddenly have a bad game. I'd expect another tough match-up from Wolf, but could be counteracted by a home start from Wandy.
Finally in the finale it'll be a fresh matchup, Chris Naverson verse Bud Norris. Norris is already a third of the way to his WAR total from last year, is it to early to call a break out? Maybe, but he's been the Astros hottest pitcher allowing three runs or less in his last three starts. Unfortunately it's taken him over a 100 pitches to get through 6 innings. Naverson on the other hand has allowed three runs or more in his last three starts, with his most recent start allowing 7 earned runs in 2.1 innings. But don't let his last outing fool you, he had a head cold and struggled against a very good Reds lineup. You take out his last start and he's got a 2.19 ERA for the Brewers. His 3.48 FIP indicates that we're in for a pretty good match-up on Sunday.
The best news for the Astros in regards to this weekends series is that they will miss Zach Greinke's return who I'm sure will provide much angst for Astros fans at some point this season. Look for some good games against the Brewers, most likely determined by how well the pitching staff can contain the Brewer hitters.