Brewers-Astros Preview

Now that Milwaukee’s lengthy winning streak in Houston has

ended, the Brewers hope Shaun Marcum can help them get back on


Marcum seeks to ensure the Brewers avoid a two-game sweep

Thursday night by continuing both his recent success overall and

against the Astros.

Milwaukee starting pitchers had posted a 1.37 ERA over the

previous seven games before Wednesday, when Randy Wolf was tagged

for seven runs in four innings of an 8-3 loss that snapped the

Brewers’ six-game winning streak in Houston.

The Astros (16-21) scored more than half the 13 runs they’d

totaled during their home skid to Milwaukee. Onetime Brewers

slugger Carlos Lee homered for the first time since April 22 and

drove in three runs to help his current team snap a four-game

overall losing streak.

“I’ve said before (the Astros) are a scrappy team,” Brewers

manager Ron Roenicke said. “Offensively, these guys can swing the

bat. They are always on base. They are hard to get out.”

Milwaukee (16-21), which has dropped three of four, hopes Marcum

can deliver a fourth straight strong outing Thursday.

Marcum (2-1, 3.07 ERA) is 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four starts

against the Astros, but he allowed four runs and walked four in a

season-low five innings of a 7-5 loss to Houston on April 25. The

right-hander has posted a 1.80 ERA in three starts since then,

though and Saturday earned his first win since April 9, giving up a

run and three hits in seven innings of an 8-2 victory over


“He’s got four pitches, and he’s got command of all of them. He

can expose things,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum told the Brewers’

official website. “He can maneuver the ball around, in and out, and

he cuts it and changes and throws a slow curveball, and he’s very

deceiving in his motion, and how quick he is to the plate makes him

deceiving as well.”

Lee, 2 for 7 with a home run versus Marcum, is 11 for 21 in his

last five games. He’s batting .429 with three homers and 10 RBIs

during a nine-game hitting streak against Milwaukee.

“I’m feeling real good right now,” said Lee, who played for the

Brewers in 2005 and 2006. “I’ve kind of found something that’s

keeping me in a good position to hit.”

Scheduled Houston starter J.A. Happ (2-3, 5.72) looks to avoid

losing a third straight start after giving up 11 runs and four

homers in 10 innings over his last two outings. The left-hander

allowed five runs in five innings of a 5-2 loss at Pittsburgh on


“It’s another start where everything seems like it’s going along

OK and then all of a sudden things start going against it,” Happ

said. “That’s where my frustration comes from.”

Happ, who yielded four runs and two homers in five innings

against Marcum and the Brewers on April 25, is 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA

in six career starts versus Milwaukee.

Corey Hart, who homered for one of Milwaukee’s five hits

Wednesday, is 7 for 15 with three doubles and a home run off Happ.

The All-Star right fielder is batting .404 with five homers and

nine RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak against the Astros.