Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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MLB Preview: Houston Astros (27-19) at Milwaukee Brewers (25-21)


TONIGHT’S GAME: The Astros will open a six-game, seven-day road trip tonight with the first of three against their former NL Central rival, the Milwaukee Brewers…tonight’s pitching matchup is a good one between RHP Cristian Javier and RHP Corbin Burnes, two pitchers who traditionally rank at the top of the leaderboards in opponent average and strikeouts per 9.0.

STREAKING!: The Astros are on a season-high, seven-game winning streak, which is the longest active winning streak in the Majors…prior to this streak, the Astros longest winning streak of the season was four games…Houston did have two winning streaks of seven-plus games in 2022, an 11-game run (May 2-13) and an eight-game stretch (June 28-July 5).

RECENT ‘STROS: The Astros have won 10 of their last 11 games to put them a season-high eight games above .500…much of this damage was done on the Astros last homestand, in which they went 6-0 with three-game sweeps of the Cubs and A’s.

ROAD RAGE: The Astros are 13-8 (.619) on the road, which ranks as the second-best road record in the AL, trailing only the Orioles (16-8, .667)…this falls in line with what the Astros did last season, as they led the AL in road winning percentage with a 51-30 (.630) mark.

VS. THE CREW: The Astros and Brewers, who spent 15 seasons (1998-2012) together in the NL Central, have only played each other in 10 games since the Astros moved to the AL in 2013, with Houston going 5-5 in those games…the two teams last saw each other in 2019, playing two-game series in both Milwaukee and Houston that season…both series were splits.

YESTERDAY’S GEM: LHP Framber Valdez (0ER/9IP) pitched the Astros to a 2-0 win over the A’s yesterday at Minute Maid Park, securing a three-game sweep…Valdez allowed just four hits and did not issue a walk, while striking out seven in the outing…the Astros got just enough offense in the win, including a 1×2 day by 2B Jose Altuve, who also walked twice and picked up an RBI in what was his third game back from the IL.

FRAMBERIZED: LHP Framber Valdez tossed the second complete game shutout of his career yesterday vs. OAK…the Astros now have five complete game shutouts since 2017, with Valdez and RHP Justin Verlander tossing two and RHP Gerritt Cole contributing the other…Valdez’s four hits allowed were the fewest hits allowed in Astros complete-game shutout since Verlander tossed his no-hitter on Sept. 1, 2019 at TOR…also, prior to Valdez yesterday, the last Astros pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout without issuing a walk was LHP Dallas Keuchel on May 30, 2015 vs. CWS.

TODAY’S ROSTER MOVE: The Astros have reinstated LHP Parker Mushinski (lumbar spine muscle spasm) from the 10-day IL… Houston optioned LHP Matt Gage to Triple A Sugar Land to make room for Mushinski on the active roster.

PITCHING IN: The Astros have the lowest team ERA (3.19) and have allowed the fewest runs (163) in the Majors…their bullpen ranks second the Majors in ERA (2.95) and has combined to post a 0.89 ERA (2ER/20.1IP) over the team’s last six games.

Lowest Team ERA – MLB Lowest Bullpen ERA – MLB

  1. Houston: 3.19 1. New York (AL): 2.87
  2. Tampa Bay: 3.38 2. Houston: 2.95
  3. Minnesota: 3.43 3. Baltimore: 3.03

MR. CRISTIAN: RHP Cristian Javier has rounded into form over his last six outings, posting a 2.78 ERA (11ER/35.2IP), a .168 opponent average, a 0.87 WHIP and an 11.36 strikeouts per 9.0 ratio in those starts…on the season, Javier ranks fifth in the AL in WHIP (0.97) and sixth in opponent average (.203).

HECTOR’S HOT STREAK: RHP Hector Neris has not allowed a run in his last 15 appearances (13.0 IP)…that ties as the longest scoreless inning streak by an Astro this season, along with a streak produced by RHP Luis Garcia…Neris’ streak ties as the third-longest active streak in the AL.

LATE ATTACK: The Astros offense has come alive late in games this season, producing 83 runs in the 7th inning or later, which ranks second in the AL, trailing only the Rays (84)…the Astros top innings on the season have been the 1st and 7th, with the club scoring 31 runs in both frames.

AL RANKINGS: Among AL players, LF Yordan Alvarez ranks third in RBI (41), third in OPS (.959), third in SLG (.571) and sixth in OBP (.387)…3B Alex Bregman ranks tied for third in walks (27) and third in plate appearances per strikeout (10.20)…additionally, IF Mauricio Dubón ranks fourth in batting average (.309) and RF Kyle Tucker ranks ninth in RBI (33).

STUFF OF NIGHTMARES: LF Yordan Alvarez has been at his best in the big moments in his career, especially this season…he’s hitting .455 (15×33) with RISP, .556 (10×18) with RISP and two outs, .571 (4×7) with the bases loaded, and .400 (10×25) in close and late situations.

ON A HEATER: CF Jake Meyers reached base safely in nine consecutive plate appearances over the weekend, from the 7th inning on Friday thru the 6th inning yesterday (4 BB, 3 1B, 2B, HR)…this continues a heater for Meyers, who owns an .823 OPS in his 28 games since April 15…among Astros players since that date, only LF Yordan Alvarez (.932) has posted a higher OPS than Meyers.

LAST START – 5/16 VS. CHC: allowed 1 run on 2 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts in 6.0 innings…recorded his 3rd consecutive quality start….he’s also won his last two starts.

ABOUT JAVIER: dynamic starter is making his 10th start of the season…the Astros have gone 7-2 in Javier’s 9 starts this season and are 13-2 in Javier’s last 15 starts dating back to last season.

  • has rounded into form over his last 6 outings, posting a 2.78 ERA (11ER/35.2IP), a .168 opponent average, a 0.87 WHIP and an 11.36 strikeouts per 9.0 ratio in those starts.

INVISIBALL: has held opponents to a .182 average (231×1269) throughout his MLB career…it’s the lowest opponent’s batting average (min. 350 IP) of any MLB pitcher since entering the league in ‘20…the next-closest players are LAA Shohei Ohtani (.196) and MIL Corbin Burnes (.198).

AMONG THE BEST: in the AL, he ranks 5th in WHIP (0.97), 11th in SO/BB (4.92) 11th in strikeouts per 9 innings (10.08) and 14th in strikeouts (59).

VS. MIL: will face the Brewers for the 1st time in his career…has a career 4.01 ERA (30ER/67.1IP) in Interleague play.


TONIGHT’S GAME: Is game 1 of a 7-game homestand against Houston (3g) and San Francisco (4g)…..following this homestand and an off day on May 29, the team takes a 7-game trip to Toronto (3g) and Cincinnati (4g).

IN THE TRAINER’S ROOM: RHP Jason Alexander (right rotator cuff), LHP Aaron Ashby (left labrum), RHP JB Bukauskas (neck), RHP Matt Bush (right rotator cuff), LHP Eric Lauer (right shoulder), LHP Wade Miley (left lat), OF Garrett Mitchell (left shoulder), INF Luis Urías (left hamstring), 1B Luke Voit (neck), LHP Justin Wilson (left elbow) and RHP Brandon Woodruff (right shoulder) are on the injured list…..Alexander, Ashby, Mitchell, Urías, Wilson and Woodruff are on the 60-day IL.

IN THE STANDINGS (53 days): The Brewers have spent the following number of days alone or tied at each position in the NL Central standings: FIRST: 32, SECOND: 19, THIRD: 2, FOURTH: 0, FIFTH: 0…..the team is currently in first place, leading the second-place Pirates by 1.0 game.

SERIES-LY SPEAKING: The Brewers are 7-8-0 in series play.
Game 1: 7-8, Game 2: 9-6, Game 3: 8-7, Game 4: 1-0
Sweep Wins (3): vs. NYM (3g, 4/3-4/5), at SEA (3g, 4/17-4/19), vs. KC (3g, 5/12-5/14)
Sweep Losses (1): at COL (3g, 5/2-5/4)

AT HOME: The Brewers are 13-8 at home, going 4-3-0 in series play…..the team went 46-35 at home last season, going 15-8-4 in series play.

ON THE ROAD: The Brewers are 12-13 on the road, going 3-5-0 in series play…..the team went 40-41 on the road last season, going 9-12-5 in series play.

LET’S GO TO THE VIDEO TAPE: The Brewers have made nine replay challenges this season, going 5-4…..their last challenge (lost) came on May 21 at Tampa Bay as a hit by pitch (Randy Arozarena) stood.

BURNES AT A GLANCE: Corbin Burnes, 28, is making his 10th start…..he last started last Wednesday at St. Louis and took a 3-0 loss (6ip, 8h, 3r, 3er, 1bb, 7k, 1hr, 89 pitches)….. the team is 5-4 in his starts…..he has 5 quality starts, including 4 in a row…..opponents are batting .218 (41-for-188, 5hr)…..Burnes was selected by Milwaukee in the fourth round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of St. Mary’s (CA) College…..he is under club control through 2024.

LAST SEASON: Burnes went 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA in 33 starts last season, finishing seventh in NL Cy Young Award voting after winning the award in 2021…..Burnes was an All-Star for the second straight season and was named Brewers Most Valuable Pitcher for the second year in a row…..his career-high 243 strikeouts led the National League and ranked second in the majors behind the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole (257)…..he became the first pitcher in franchise history to lead his league in strikeouts…..he also ranked among the NL top five in starts (T1st, 33), AVG (2nd, .197), K/9IP (2nd, 10.83), H/9IP (2nd, 6.42), innings pitched (4th, 202.0), K/BB (4th, 4.76), quality starts (T4th, 21) and WHIP (5th, 0.97)…..the team went 20-13 in his starts.

CY BURNES: Burnes won the 2021 National League Cy Young Award after going 11-5 with a Major League-best 2.43 ERA in 28 starts…..he became the third pitcher in franchise history to win a Cy Young Award, joining Rollie Fingers (1981) and Pete Vuckovich (1982)…..he became the first pitcher in franchise history to lead his league in ERA.

CAREER: Is 39-22 with a 3.24 ERA in 144 games/83 starts (567.1ip, 204er)… in his sixth Major League season, all with the Brewers (2018-23)… 31-19 with a 2.99 ERA as a starter (485.1ip, 161er) and 8-3 with a 4.72 ERA in relief (82ip, 43er)…..Burnes is a two-time All-Star (2021-22) and was a 2021 All-MLB First Team selection.

CAREER AT AMERICAN FAMILY FIELD: Is 19-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 70 games/43 starts (294ip, 114er)… 2-0 with a 3.80 ERA in 4 starts this season (21.1ip, 9er)…..went 7-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 18 starts last season (109.2ip, 37er)…..

CAREER ON THE ROAD: Is 20-10 with a 2.96 ERA in 74 games/40 starts (273.1ip, 90er)… 2-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 5 starts this season (30.1ip, 11er)…..went 5-4 with a 2.83 ERA in 15 starts last season (92.1ip, 29er).

CAREER vs. ASTROS: His only career appearance vs. Houston came in relief on 6/11/19 at Minute Maid Park (1ip).

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