clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wallace Debuts As The Milwaukee Brewers (48-56) Go Up Against The Houston Astros (43-59)

(Sports Network) - Things sure are changing in the Astros' clubhouse in a hurry, but that hasn't stopped the club from putting together a little win streak.

Having already traded one face of the franchise, Houston appears on the verge of shipping out another before tonight's continuation of a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at Minute Maid Park.

With the Astros 13 1/2 games off the pace in the National League Central, the club has become sellers at this year's trade deadline. They already shipped starting pitcher Roy Oswalt to the Phillies on Thursday and are rumored to have a deal in the works today to send Lance Berkman to the New York Yankees.

Berkman is expected to become the Yankees' full-time designated hitter after batting .245 in 85 games this season with 13 homers and 49 RBI following knee surgery in March.

"If you decide to leave a place you've grown up and call home, that's very difficult," Berkman told Houston's website on Friday. "This is a tremendous organization, and they've given me an opportunity to not only play in the big leagues, but they kept me around. It would be very tough to leave a place as comfortable with as I am here."

Berkman was not in the lineup on Friday, but J.A. Happ was. One of the players acquired from the Phillies on Thursday for Oswalt, the young left-hander threw six scoreless innings in his Houston debut, helping his club to a 5-0 victory.

Happ gave up just two hits and struck out six to earn the win, the Astros' third in a row that is one shy of their season high.

"I'm sure there was a lot of anxiety and nerves throwing for the first part of it," Astros manager Brad Mills said of Happ. "We saw a guy that knows how to pitch."

Houston's look to the future has opened up playing time for guys like Chris Johnson, who had one of three Astros homers last night. Jason Michaels and Jeff Keppinger also went deep while Johnson extended his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest by an Astros rookie since Julio Lugo's 14-game run in 2000.

Brewers starter Manny Parra couldn't keep up with Happ, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings. Happ's performance did not catch Milwaukee manager Ken Macha by surprise either.

"I voted for him for Rookie of the Year last year," Macha said of Happ. "He's got a good arm. I thought we were just a little too aggressive and went out of the zone a little bit tonight."

Milwaukee finished with just four hits, none from Corey Hart, who went 0-for-3 with a walk in his return to the lineup after missing six games due to a sore right thumb and wrist.

Hart and company will be looking to slow down Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez, who is on an impressive run that has seen him win two straight and five of his last six starts while allowing one run or less in four of those games.

The left-hander beat the Reds on Sunday with seven scoreless innings of one- hit, two-walk ball while striking out seven and moving to 8-11 on the season with a 4.80 earned run average.

Rodriguez, 31, beat the Brewers on June 30 with seven innings of one-run ball and is 6-6 versus them lifetime with a 4.48 ERA.

Brewers starter Dave Bush snapped a two-start skid on Sunday with a win over Washington, allowing three runs -- two earned -- on six hits over six innings to improve to 5-8 on the season with a 4.27 ERA. It was an encouraging outing for the right-hander after he gave up 10 runs, five earned, over four innings of a loss to Pittsburgh in his previous outing.

Bush has pitched well versus the Astros in his career, going 6-2 with a 3.23 ERA in 15 games, 13 of those starts. The 30-year-old did lose to them on June 30, but allowed two runs over six innings.

The Brewers and Astros split six games in Milwaukee earlier this year.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.