HOUSTON - AUGUST 10: Pitcher J.A. Happ #30 of the Houston Astros throws against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Minute Maid Park on August 10 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Houston Astros take their eight-game losing streak back to Minute Maid Park to begin a three-game weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.
Whereas the Astros are coming off a seven-game road losing streak, an extension of what's actually an eight-game losing streak, the Brewers just won a respectable four out of seven games at home as they enter Reliant Stadium on Friday evening.
So even though these teams are in similar positions in the NL Central, with the Stros being in dead last and the Brew Crew just a step ahead of them at fourth in the division, it's the Astros who are obviously most desperate for a victory.
It's not going to be easy taking the opener at home, though. The Stros face Brewers right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo (6-6, 3.87 ERA), who already has seven consecutive wins against the team, going for his eighth on Friday. J.A. Happ (6-8, 4.81 ERA) will attempt to offset Gallardo in the pitching duel.
Then on Saturday it doesn't get much better for Houston, with Zack Greinke (9-2, 3.08 ERA) taking the mound against Wandy Rodriguez (6-6, 3.54 ERA). Greinke is 4-0 for his career against the Astros, and nothing about the current Houston lineup suggests that such an undefeated record will blemish.
But there's also Sunday, when Marco Estrada gets the start for the Brewers. Estrada is winless on the season and not much of a record to speak of against the franchise. In fact, there isn't an Astros hitter that he's seen more than twice, with J.D. Martinez at 1-2 lifetime on Estrada and Jose Altuve and Brian Bogusevic each getting a hit in their only at-bat against him.
We mention the Brewers pitching not so much because they're great (and they are pretty good), but because Houston's hitting has been so inept. The Astros could benefit from facing an inept pitching staff, but that won't be the case here.
At some point, and we're talking about at some point this weekend, the Stros fans are going to want to see this team take some pride and pick itself up off the ground.
Read more on the Astros at The Crawfish Boxes and SB Nation Houston. Head over to Brew Crew Ball for the Brewers fans' perspective. Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis around Major League Baseball.