National League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 9th (All times Eastern)
Atlanta Braves (0-3) at Houston Astros (2-1), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Brandon Beachy (0-0, 0.00) Houston - J.A. Happ (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - Lefty J.A. Happ tries to stay above .500 for his career tonight when the Houston Astros host the Atlanta Braves in the first of three games at Minute Maid Park.
Happ, a 28-year-old Illinois native, was 14-5 with the Philadelphia Phillies between 2007 and 2010 before a trade to the Houston Astros that saw veteran starter Roy Oswalt head to the Phillies.
He finished the season 5-4 in 13 starts with the Astros, then went 6-15 in 28 appearances with Houston in 2011, posting a 5.35 earned run average in 156 1/3 innings with 134 strikeouts.
Happ has made seven career appearances - six starts - against Atlanta, winning a pair of decisions with a 2.09 ERA in 38 2/3 innings.
The Astros, who finished last in the National League's Central Division last season, won two of three to begin 2012, including Sunday's 3-2 defeat of the Colorado Rockies in which Brian Bogusevic singled home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth and Brett Myers saved his first game in nearly five years.
It was Houston's first season-opening win since 2006.
Jose Altuve had two hits and scored two runs and starter Bud Norris (1-0) struck out eight batters and allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in seven innings.
For Atlanta, righty Brandon Beachy makes the 29th start of a big-league career that began in 2010.
The Indiana native was 0-2 in three starts with the Braves in 2010, then went 7-3 in 25 outings with them over a full season in 2011.
Beachy tossed a career-high 141 2/3 innings last year, allowing 125 hits and striking out 169 batters.
He has never faced the Astros.
On Sunday in New York, Jonathon Niese carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out seven as the Mets completed a series sweep of the Braves with a 7-5 victory at Citi Field.
Jason Heyward belted a two-run double in a four-run seventh inning for the Braves, while Brian McCann added a solo shot in the eighth to cap the scoring.
Starter Mike Minor (0-1) took the loss, allowing six runs on six hits while walking four in five-plus innings on the mound.
The Braves are 10-2 versus the Astros since the start of the 2010 season, with both losses coming in Houston.
04/09 10:52:52 ET