National League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 25th
(All times Eastern)
Houston Astros (6-12) at Milwaukee Brewers (9-9), 1:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - J.A. Happ (1-1, 4.00)
Milwaukee - Shaun Marcum (1-1, 3.79)
(Sports Network) - Shaun Marcum's transition from the American to the National
League with the Brewers last season seemed near flawless, at least when facing
Marcum will look to build on his outstanding numbers against Houston and
extend Milwaukee's recent domination of this series this afternoon in the
finale of a three-game set.
Marcum spent the first five years of his big league career with the Blue Jays
before getting dealt to the Brewers on Dec. 6, 2010 in exchange for third
baseman Brett Lawrie. The right-hander went on to make a career-high 33 starts
with Milwaukee last season, including his first three ever against the Astros.
Marcum shined in those outings, going 2-0 with a 1.80 earned run average. He
threw seven scoreless innings in both wins, yielding a combined four hits and
three walks while striking out 14.
The 30-year-old split his first two starts of this season, but did not factor
into the decision of a 4-3 loss to the Rockies on Friday in his first home
outing of 2012. Marcum allowed three runs on eight hits with two walks over
six innings, fanning five.
Marcum will try to extend the Brewers' 11-game winning streak over the Astros,
a run that Milwaukee extended last night with a 9-6 win. The Brewers pounded
out 13 hits, getting home runs from Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, Travis Ishikawa
and Carlos Gomez, while Alex Gonzalez and Nyjer Morgan added three hits each.
"Offensively a lot of guys contributed. It was late, but it was nice to see,"
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
The offensive explosion allowed Randy Wolf to get in the win column for the
first time this season after the lefty allowed two runs on four hits and four
walks over six innings. John Axford finished things off with his fourth save
of the season and 47th in a row dating back to last season, tying Brad Lidge
for the fourth longest streak in MLB history.
Milwaukee moved to 5-3 on a nine-game homestand and hasn't lost to the Astros
since May 1, 2011. The Brewers have also won six straight and 10 of their last
11 at home versus Houston.
Bud Norris was tagged for seven runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings for the
Astros, who have dropped eight of their last 10.
"They got seven runs off [Norris] off the long ball. Other than that he
pitched well," Astros manager Brad Mills said of his starter.
Jose Altuve went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in defeat, while Jordan Schafer
went 1-for-4 and has reached base safely in all 18 games this season. That is
the longest streak for Houston since Ricky Gutierrez's 23-game run in 1998.
Getting the start for the Astros is 29-year-old J.A. Happ, who has thrown
three quality starts to begin the season but is coming off a loss to the
Dodgers on Friday. He was touched for three runs on eight hits with four
walks, falling to 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA on the season.
"I felt fine. I just think that I wasn't quite as sharp as maybe the first two
[starts]," said Happ. "I wasn't missing by much, that's for sure. And they
battled, too. They had good at-bats."
The left-hander is 2-2 with a 6.08 ERA in six career meetings with the Astros,
including five starts.
04/25 10:53:50 ET
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