(Sports Network) – Brewers starter Randy Wolf has gone over a month without a victory despite some decent outings.
At least he has won a few games this year, something Astros rookie Jordan Lyles has yet to do as a big-league starter.
Wolf will try to pitch Milwaukee to a fourth straight victory while Lyles aims once again to find the win column for Houston in the opener of a three- game series at Miller Park.
The left-handed Wolf hasn’t recorded a win since June 24, going 0-4 in five starts since. The veteran hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his past three outings however, but that wasn’t enough to help him avoid a second straight losing start on Saturday.
Visiting the Giants, Wolf yielded three runs on seven hits and three walks over six innings, falling to 6-8 with a solid 3.62 earned run average in 21 starts this year.
A turnaround for the 34-year-old will be likely tonight if Wolf can duplicate his first two meetings with the Astros this year. He is 1-0 in that time while holding Houston to just a pair of runs over 15 innings.
The Astros’ Carlos Lee, Hunter Pence and Chris Johnson are a combined 0-for-18 against Wolf this season.
Wolf’s Brewers will get their first look at the 20-year-old Lyles, who is 0-5 with a 4.55 ERA over his initial 10 starts in the majors. He did manage to avoid a third straight losing start on Sunday at the Cubs, getting charged with three runs on nine hits over six innings of a no-decision.
Houston, though, lost 5-4 and have come out on the losing end of Lyles’ past nine appearances, having not claimed a victory in a game he started since the right-hander’s debut on May 31.
Lyles will face the Brewers for the first time and it will also mark his first start against a National League Central opponent other than the Cubs.
He’ll try to stop a Milwaukee club that leads the division by 1 1/2 games over both the Pirates and Cardinals and began a nine-game homestand by taking all three meetings with Chicago to start the week.
Ryan Braun nearly hit for the cycle in Thursday’s 4-2 victory that wrapped the set, hitting a solo homer and driving in two runs in the Brewers’ first sweep of the Cubs since May 3-5, 2005.
Yuniesky Betancourt and Casey McGehee each added an RBI for Milwaukee. Shaun Marcum allowed two runs over his six innings, including one in the top of the first before the Brewers answered with a pair of runs in the home half.
“Coming back to score in the first was huge,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “That put a little damper on the other side.”
There was no damper for Milwaukee despite putting All-Star second baseman Rickie Weeks on the disabled list before the game because of a severely sprained left ankle suffered in Wednesday’s win. The Brewers added depth yesterday to the roster, acquiring Felipe Lopez from the Rays for cash.
Lopez previously played for the Brewers in 2009, when he hit .320 with three homers and 32 RBI in 66 contests.
The Astros, meanwhile, helped Milwaukee’s cause on Thursday by handing the Cardinals a 5-3 setback. Lee paced the offense with a homer and two RBI, while Wandy Rodriguez earned the win after allowing three runs — one earned — on five hits with six strikeouts over seven innings.
“Wandy was super. He didn’t let the unearned runs bother him,” Astros manager Brad Mills said.
Rodriguez and the bullpen combined to retire the final 19 hitters faced and give Houston consecutive victories following a five-game slide.
The Astros and Brewers have split six meetings this year, with Milwaukee winning two of three at home in late April.