Milwaukee Brewers (38-44) vs Houston Astros (32-50)
Friday July 6
Minute Maid Park – Houston, TX
MIL: Yovani Gallardo
HOU: J.A. Happ
Moneyline: Milwaukee -140, Houston +130
The Brew Crew have lost their last two games heading into Houston to square off against the team just below them in the NL Central standings. The difference is that when the season started Milwaukee thought they would be a challenger…now they are just waiting to see who will give them the best offer for free agent to be Zack Greinke. This team is amassing an impressive injured list with Shaun Marcum now on the DL.
If (or when) Greinke is dealt the mantle of ace will fall to Yovani Gallardo. He certainly has the stuff and can dominate, but if things continue as they have been he will finish with his highest ERA since joining the league. He has been much sharper of late with a 2.33 ERA over his last three starts. Against Houston he has been a sparkling 10-2 over his career which is the reason why the Brewers are the medium favourites in the opener.
Houston is coming home absolutely desperate for a win. They had lost 7 in a row heading into Thursday night’s contest with Pittsburgh (which they were losing 2-0 as this is being written). It is no secret why – just combine very bad pitching with poor hitting. The hitting might be getting worse too with the recent deal of outfielder Carlos Lee to the Marlins. If any team needs the All-Star break it is these guys.
Starter J.A. Happ is a real conundrum. In some areas he has improved over last year – like strikeouts and command – but at the same time he is giving up a higher BAA. He is wildly inconsistent no matter what kind of situation you put him in. There is just no way you can back him in this contest when you see that the Brewers have walloped him in the past to the tune of an ERA close to 6.
O/U Pick: Over
Score Prediction: Milwaukee 4 – Houston 0