Tuesday, April 23, 2024
5-Hour Energy

MLB Preview: Houston Astros (28-19) at Milwaukee Brewers (25-22)

HOUSTON ASTROS NOTES:

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Astros will play the second game of a six-game, seven-day road trip tonight with the second of three against their former NL Central rival, the Milwaukee Brewers… tonight’s pitching matchup is between RHP J.P. France and RHP Colin Rea.

STREAKING!: The Astros are on a season-high, eight-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 eight-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 11 of their last 12 games to put them a season-high nine 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 14-8 (.636) 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 11 games since the Astros moved to the AL in 2013, with Houston going 6-5 in those games…prior to this series, the two teams last saw each other in 2019, playing two-game series in both Milwaukee and Houston that season… both series were splits.

AT THE HELM: Astros skipper Dusty Baker is in his 26th season as a manager and his fourth in Houston…Baker, who ranks ninth all-time in managerial wins with 2,121, immediately trails Hall of Famer Joe McCarthy (2,125) for eighth place on that all-time list.

ALL-TIME MANAGER WINS LIST

  1. Connie Mack 3731 6. Sparky Anderson 2194
  2. Tony La Russa 2859 7. Bucky Harris 2158
  3. John McGraw 2763 8. Joe McCarthy 2125
  4. Bobby Cox 2504 9. Dusty Baker 2121
  5. Joe Torre 2326 10. Walter Alston 2040

LAST NIGHT’S GAME: The Astros had an offensive explosion in last night’s 12-2 victory over the Brewers…Houston set season-highs in runs (12), hits (15) and home runs (5)…the offense was led by DH Yordan Alvarez (3×4, 2 HR, 5 RBI), LF Corey Julks (3×5, HR, 3 RBI), 2B Mauricio Dubón (1×4, HR) and C Martín Maldonado (2×3, HR)…on the mound, RHP Cristian Javier (1ER/6IP) recorded his fourth consecutive quality start.

FRAMBERIZED: LHP Framber Valdez tossed the second complete game shutout of his career on Sunday 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.

BAGGY IN THE BOOTH: The Astros telecast on AT&T SportsNet SW this series will feature Todd Kalas, Julia Morales and Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, who’s subbing for Geoff Blum…Bagwell will be on the call for the entirety of the Astros-Brewers series.

PITCHING IN: The Astros have the lowest team ERA (3.16) and have allowed the fewest runs (165) in the Majors…their bullpen ranks second the Majors in ERA (2.95) and has combined to post a 1.17 ERA (3ER/23.1IP) over the team’s last seven games.

Lowest Team ERA – MLB Lowest Bullpen ERA – MLB

  1. Houston: 3.16 1. New York (AL): 2.87
  2. Tampa Bay: 3.39 2. Houston: 2.95
  3. Minnesota: 3.44 3. Baltimore: 3.03

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 second-longest active streak in the AL.

LATE ATTACK: The Astros offense has come alive late in games this season, producing 85 runs in the 7th inning or later, which ranks tied for the most in the AL with the Rays (85)…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 second in RBI (46), second in SLG (.616) third in OPS (1.015), sixth in OBP (.399) and seventh in batting average (.305)…3B Alex Bregman ranks second in plate appearances per strikeout (10.50) and tied for fourth in walks (27)…additionally, IF Mauricio Dubón ranks sixth in batting average (.307) 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 .471 (16×34) with RISP, .556 (10×18) with RISP and two outs, .625 (5×8) with the bases loaded, and .400 (10×25) in close and late situations.

AIR YORDAN: Last night, Yordan Alvarez recorded his 14th career multi-homer game…it was his first multi-homer game of the season, last was on Sept, 16, 2022 vs. OAK…Alvarez’s 14 multi-homer games are tied with Gary Sanchez for the second-most multi-homer games in a players’ first 409 career games in MLB history behind only Ralph Kiner (17).

TONIGHT’S ASTROS STARTER: RHP J.P. FRANCE

LAST START – 5/17 VS CHC: tossed 3.2 IP while surrendering 9 hits and 6 runs to go with 2 strikeouts…issued 2 walks, which was the first time he allowed 2+ BB since 7/26/22 at Oklahoma City…gave up 3 home runs in a game for the first time in his professional career (102 appearances).

THE FIRST FRANCE: rookie right-hander made his Major League debut with his start on 5/6 at Seattle…allowed 1 ER in 11.2 IP through his first two MLB starts…became the 4th pitcher in club history to work 5.0-plus innings, allowing 1-or-fewer runs in each of his first 2 Major League starts…the others to do so: LHP Dallas Keuchel (2012), LHP Carlos Hernández (2001) and RHP Manny Hernández.

ABOUT FRANCE: was selected in the 14th round by the Astros in the 2018 draft out of Mississippi State…the 2023 season is his 6th in the Astros system.

  • pitched for 3 years at Tulane, missed his sophomore season due to injury, before he transferred to Mississippi State…posted a 3.77 ERA in 25 appearances (59.2IP /2GS) as a grad transfer…he played a crucial part in the Bulldogs clinching an NCAA Super Regional berth by throwing 7.0 innings of two-run ball vs. Oklahoma in the Tallahassee Regional.

BOUNCING BACK: has allowed 5+ ER in only 9 of his career appearances (MLB and MiLB), including his last start on 5/17 vs CHC…in his following appearances of 5+ ER (8G/37.1 IP), he has a 3.13 ERA and has held opponents to 3 ER or less in each of those contests.

FRANCE’S 2023 MILB SEASON: prior to being recalled, he was with Triple A Sugar Land, going 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA (5ER/19.1IP) in 5 games (3 starts)…worked between the rotation and bullpen in the Space Cowboys’ piggyback starter role.

  • had 26 strikeouts in 19.1 innings, while allowing just 9 hits on the season…posted a .136 (9×66) opponent average and a 1.03 WHIP.
  • did not allow a home run this season in the homer-friendly Pacific Coast League… has not allowed a homer at the MiLB level since Aug. 13, 2022 at ELP…since that date, has made 17 total MiLB appearances (36IP).

VS. THE BREWERS: France will be making his first appearance against the Brewers and his 2nd career interleague appearance.

  • although the righty has never faced MIL, he did face IF Brice Turang in 2 games during his time in Fayetteville in 2019…Turang went 1×2 with a double and 2 BB.

FANNING FRANCE: has posted huge strikeout numbers in his minor league career, fanning 447 in 362.1 innings pitched…it is the most strikeouts by an Astros minor league player since he entered the system in 2018.

  • is T-5th in strikeouts-per-9-innings (11.10) among Astros minor league players since 2018 (min 200 IP).

MILWAUKEE BREWERS NOTES:

WHAT’S BREWING?
A Series Situation
The Brewers went 5-1 over their first 6 series this season and have since gone 2-7 in series play…..the team is looking to avoid a series loss tonight.
L, W, L, W, L, W, L, W, L, W, L

The Brewers have gone 5-6 against the Astros since Houston left the NL Central for the AL West in 2013 and have alternated losses and wins.
To Each His Owen Owen Miller went 0-for-4 last night, snapping a 13-game hitting streak and 22-game on-base streak, both marking career highs…..Miller batted .359 (28-for-78) with 2 HR and 7 RBI during the on-base streak…..he batted .408 (20-for-49) with 2 HR and 5 RBI during the hitting streak.

Let’s Get Rowdy!
In his last 33 games, Rowdy Tellez is batting .291 (30-for-103) with 10 HR and 21 RBI…..Tellez is currently among the NL leaders in the following:

Category NL Rank
HR (12) ……………………………………………T5th
SLG (.547) ……………………………………. T6th
OPS (.897) ……………………………………….8th

Born Again Christian
Christian Yelich hit .223 (23-for-103) with 3 HR and 11 RBI through April (.316 OBP/.340 SLG/.656 OPS)…..he has rebounded to hit .313 (20-for-64) with 4 HR and 13 RBI in the month of May (.371 OBP/.531 SLG/.903 OPS).

Born To Run
Christian Yelich has 10 stolen bases this season without being caught…..he and the Yankees’ Anthony Volpe (13) are the only players in the majors to have at least 10 stolen bases without a caught stealing in 2023.

Pitching In
Mike Brosseau last night made the ninth pitching appearance of his career and second this season (also 5/15 at STL)…..Brosseau nows sports
an impressive 3.12 ERA in his pitching career (8.2ip, 8h, 3r, 3er, 2bb, 1k, 2hr).

Most Regular Season Wins
National League – Since 2017
Team Wins
Los Angeles ……………………………………592
Atlanta ……………………………………………..512
Milwaukee …………………………………..506

TONIGHT’S GAME: Is game 2 (0-1) of a 7-game homestand against Houston (0-1) and San Francisco (4g)…..following this homestand and an off day next Monday, the team takes a 7-game road 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 (54 days): The Brewers have spent the following number of days alone or tied at each position in the NL Central standings: FIRST: 33, SECOND: 19, THIRD: 2, FOURTH: 0, FIFTH: 0…..team is currently tied with the Pirates for first place.

SERIES-LY SPEAKING: The Brewers are 7-8-0 in series play.
Game 1: 7-9, 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 13-9 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…..are 3-9 over their last 12 road games and have dropped their last 4 series…..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.

TONIGHT’S STARTER: #48 – RHP COLIN REA (7g, 6gs, 0-3, 5.52)
REA AT A GLANCE: Colin Rea, 32, will be making his eighth appearance and seventh start of the season…..Rea last pitched for the Brewers on 5/14 vs. Kansas City and had no decision in a 9-6 win (3.2ip, 6h, 4r, 4er, 2bb, 3k, 1hr, 81 pitches)…..the team is 3-3 in his starts…..he has 1 quality start…..opponents are batting .239 (27-for-113, 6hr)…..Rea has also made 2 starts at Triple-A Nashville this season, going 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA (7ip, 6h, 2r, 0er, 0bb, 9k)…..after pitching in Japan in 2022, he re-signed with Milwaukee on January 27 (non-roster invitee)…..his only outing for the Brewers prior to this season came in relief on 10/2/21 at Los Angeles-NL…..his name is pronounced “RAY.”

LAST SEASON: Rea pitched in Japan, where he went 5-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 23 games/16 starts with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

CAREER: Is 8-11 with a 5.00 ERA in 43 games/33 starts (185.1ip, 103er)…..has pitched for San Diego (2015-16), Miami (2016), Chicago-NL (2020) and Milwaukee (2021, ‘23)….. is 7-11 with a 5.01 ERA as a starter (169ip, 94er) and 1-0 with a 4.96 ERA as a reliever (16.1ip, 9er)…..Rea was originally selected by San Diego in the 12th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Indiana State University…..he underwent “Tommy John” surgery on 11/11/16, causing him to miss the entire 2017 season…..he was named 2019 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year after going 14-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 26 starts at Triple-A Iowa (Cubs).

CAREER AT AMERICAN FAMILY FIELD: Is 0-2 with a 6.91 ERA in 4 games/3 starts, all coming this season (14.1ip, 11er).

CAREER ON THE ROAD: Is 3-5 with a 5.12 ERA in 19 games/12 starts (77.1ip, 44er)…..is 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA in 3 starts this season (16.2ip, 8er).

CAREER vs. ASTROS: Rea has never faced the Astros.

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