Friday, June 2, 2023
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MLB Preview: Houston Astros (28-20) at Milwaukee Brewers (26-22)


TODAY’S GAME: The Astros and Brewers will play the rubber-game of their three-game series today with a pitching matchup of RHP Brandon Bielak opposite former Astros minor leaguer RHP Adrian Houser…Houser, who was originally a second-round pick by the Astros in 2011, was traded by Houston along with three others at the trading deadline in 2015, in a trade that netted the Astros OF Carlos Gómez.

ABOUT BIELAK: RHP Brandon Bielak is making his fourth turn in the rotation while subbing for the injured RHP José Urquidy… Bielak has worked 5.0 innings of one-run ball in each of his last two starts, and reached a career high in strikeouts (9) in his last start on Friday vs. OAK…Bielak has pitched in parts of the last four Major League seasons (2020-23) with the Astros, making 49 appearances, including 11 starts…he began his 2023 season at Triple A Sugar Land, posting a 4.12 ERA (9ER/19.2IP) with nine strikeouts, a 1.12 WHIP and a .216 opponent batting average in five games (three starts) in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

RECENT ‘STROS: The Astros have won 11 of their last 13 games to put them 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.

STREAK SNAPPED: The Astros had their season-high, eight-game winning streak snapped last night…the Astros have now posted at least an eight-game winning streak in every season dating back to 2017, and have had at least a seven-game winning streak in every season dating back to 2014.

ROAD RAGE: The Astros are 14-9 (.609) on the road, which ranks as the second-best road record in the AL, trailing only the Orioles (16-9, .640)…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 6-6 in those games…oddly enough, in all 11 of those games, the Astros have alternated wins and losses, which bodes well for today…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).

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: A night after setting season-highs in runs (12), hits (15) and home runs (5), the Astros were shut out by the Brewers, 6-0, last night in Milwaukee…RHP J.P. France (1ER/5.2IP) pitched well in what was his fourth career start, posting a career-high eight strikeouts…SS Jeremy Peña (2×4) had the best night on the offensive side, as he connected for a single and double in the loss.

BAGGY IN THE BOOTH: The Astros telecast on AT&T SportsNet SW this series has featured Todd Kalas, Julia Morales and Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, who’s subbing for Geoff Blum…Blum will rejoin the telecast on Friday from Oakland.

PITCHING IN: The Astros have the lowest team ERA (3.21) and have allowed the fewest runs (171) in the Majors…their starters rank third the Majors in ERA (3.25) and have allowed one-or-fewer earned runs in five straight games.

Lowest Team ERA – MLB Lowest Starter ERA – MLB

  1. Houston: 3.21 1. Tampa Bay: 2.97
  2. Minnesota: 3.45 2. Minnesota: 3.24
  3. Seattle: 3.53 3. Houston: 3.25

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.

BULLPEN WEAPONS: RHP Phil Maton and RHP Bryan Abreu have been outstanding this season…Maton has allowed just 10 hits and two runs in his first 20 appearances (23.1 IP) for a 0.77 ERA and a .127 (10×79) opponent average…meanwhile, Abreu has tallied 36 strikeouts in his 22.1 IP while allowing just three earned runs for a 1.21 ERA, and also posting a .145 opponent average (14.51 SO/9IP ratio ranks fourth 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 second in the AL trailing only the Blue Jays (89)… 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 (.612), third in OPS (1.018), third in OBP (.407) and eighth in batting average (.303)…3B Alex Bregman ranks tied for fourth in walks (27) and third in walk to strikeout ratio (1.27)…additionally, IF Mauricio Dubón
ranks fourth in batting average (.305).

STUFF OF NIGHTMARES: LF Yordan Alvarez has been at his best in the big moments in his career, especially this season… he’s hitting .457 (16×35) with RISP, .526 (10×19) with RISP and two outs, .625 (5×8) with the bases loaded, and .400 (10×25) in close and late situations.

STEAK SANDWICHES: LF Yordan Alvarez has 46 RBI in his 42 games (48 team games) to put him on pace for 155 RBI… he’s the second Astro to record 46 RBI within the team’s first 48 games, joining 1B Jeff Bagwell, who also did so in 1997… Bagwell finished that year with 135 RBI, the second-highest total in club history (Lance Berkman, 136 RBI in 2006).


  1. Craig Biggio 3,060 3. Jose Altuve 1,938
  2. Jeff Bagwell 2,314 4. Jose Cruz 1,937

LAST START – 5/19 VS OAK: struck out a career-high 9 batters, allowing 1 run and 4 hits in 5 IP…surpassed his previous career high of 6 strikeouts, which he accomplished twice, doing so last on 5/1 vs SF…matched his season-high of 5 IP, which he last accomplished 5/13 at CWS…has logged 5 IP in back-to-back outings for the 2nd time in his career and is one more outing of 5+ IP from matching his career-best streak.

SLIDE PIECE: is generating a career-best 48.1 whiff percentage with his slider this season, which is the higest whiff percentage of any pitch throughout his career…his slider accounts for 21.7 percent of his pitches this season.

WHAT A RELIEF: came on in relief on May 1 vs. SF after RHP Luis Garcia was removed in the 1st inning after 8 pitches…matched his career-high with 6 strikeouts, tossing 4.0 IP and allowing 2 runs, 2 hits and 3 walks… was the longest relief outing from an Astros pitcher this season and was the longest from an Astros pitcher since RHP Peter Solomon on 9/29/21 vs. AZ….had been recalled earlier in the day following the placement of RHP José Urquidy on the 15-day IL.

BACK IN THE BIGS: is making his first stint in the Majors this season and has appeared at the MLB level in each of the last 4 seasons (all with the Astros)… continues to serve in a hybrid starter-relief role…prior to his start on May 1, he had not made a start at the Major League level since 9/24/21 at OAK.

STARTER VS. RELIEVER: will be making his 12th career start in what is his 50th career MLB appearance…has gone 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA (24ER/42IP) as a starter vs. going 5-4 with a 4.56 ERA (36ER/71.0IP) as a reliever…of his 38 appearances as a reliever, has tossed at least 2.0 IP on 18 occasions.


TODAY’S GAME: Is game 3 (1-1) of a 7-game homestand against Houston (1-1) 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 (55 days): The Brewers have spent the following number of days alone or tied at each position in the NL Central standings: FIRST: 34, 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: 7-9, Game 2: 10-6, 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 14-9 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.

TODAY’S STARTER: #37 – RHP ADRIAN HOUSER (3gs, 0-0, 3.07)
HOUSER AT A GLANCE: Adrian Houser, 30, will be making his fourth start…..Houser last started last Friday at Tampa Bay and received no decision in the Brewers’ 1-0 loss (6ip, 4h, 0r, 1bb, 4k, 84 pitches)…..the team is 2-1 in his starts…..he has 1 quality start…..opponents are batting .322 (19-for-59, 1hr)…..Houser began the season on the 15-day injured list with a right groin strain…..he was sent to Triple-A Nashville on rehab assignment on April 14, where he made 4 starts…..Houser was acquired from Houston, along with LHP Josh Hader, OF Brett Phillips and OF Domingo Santana, in exchange for OF Carlos Gómez, RHP Mike Fiers and International Signing Bonus Slot #76 on 7/30/15.

LAST SEASON: Houser went 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 22 games/21 starts last season…..the team went 9-12 in his starts…..he made 6 quality starts…..opponents batted .258….. he posted a 2.98 ERA over his first 8 starts of the season (42.1ip, 14er) and a 6.17 ERA over his last 13 starts (58.1ip, 40er)…..he was on the 15-day injured list from 7/1-8/23 with a right flexor strain and from 9/28 through the remainder of the season with a right groin strain.

CAREER: Is 23-29 with a 3.94 ERA in 109 games/79 starts (442.2ip, 194er)… in his seventh Major League season, all with the Brewers (2015, 2018-23)…..has gone 18-29 with a 4.26 ERA as a starter (386.1ip, 183er) and 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in relief (56.1ip, 11er)…..underwent “Tommy John” surgery on his right elbow on 7/21/16.

CAREER AT AMERICAN FAMILY FIELD: Is 8-14 with a 3.53 ERA in 55 games/38 starts (216.2ip, 85er)… 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in 1 start this season (4ip, 3er)…..went 3-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 12 games/11 starts last season (58.2ip, 24er)…..CAREER ON THE ROAD: Is 15-15 with a 4.34 ERA in 54 games/41 starts (226ip, 109er)… 0-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 2 starts this season (10.2ip, 2er)…..went 3-5 with a 6.14 ERA in 10 starts last season (44ip, 30er).

CAREER vs. ASTROS: Is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 2 games/1 start (6.1ip, 1er)…..he earned a 6-3 win in relief on 6/12/19 at Minute Maid Park (2ip, 1h, 0r, 1bb, 3k) and had no decision in a 3-2, 10-inning loss on 9/2/19 at American Family Field (4.1ip, 5h, 1r, 1er, 2bb, 6k).

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