Found July 29, 2012 on
Fox Sports Wisconsin:
There are still two months left in the season, but the Milwaukee Brewers aren't giving any indication that they're going to make a move up the standings.
The Houston Astros' recent bevy of moves show they're certainly looking toward 2013.
Milwaukee will try to avoid a 10th loss in 11 games Monday night at Miller Park while the major league-worst Astros look to win two straight for the first time in more than a month.
The Brewers (45-56) were eight games out in the NL Central and six back of the second wild card at the All-Star break, but those deficits have since doubled. Another bullpen meltdown in Sunday's 11-10, 11-inning loss to Washington left the club a season-worst 11 games below .500.
"We battled to the end, we just didn't pitch well out of the bullpen again," manager Ron Roenicke said after his relievers yielded nine runs -- eight in the last four innings -- and blew a major league-leading 20th save.
While the slumping Brewers could be in sell mode with Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline approaching, the Astros (35-68) have been dealing for the past few weeks. After completing their fifth trade of the month earlier Sunday, sending third baseman Chris Johnson to Arizona for two prospects, the Astros defeated Pittsburgh 9-5 to end a team-record 12-game skid.
"To go through a homestand like this (1-6), that's a big breath of fresh air to be able to (win) and to take it out on the road with us," manager Brad Mills told the Astros' official website.
Houston, though, hasn't won two straight since June 26-27, and the club is a major league-worst 10-41 on the road.
The Astros return to Milwaukee for the first time since ending a six-game road losing streak to the Brewers -- and an 11-game overall skid in this matchup -- with a 7-5 victory April 25.
Picking up another win at Miller Park could be a challenge as Houston opens a six-game trip with Bud Norris (5-8, 5.05 ERA) going for his first win since May 21.
The right-hander is 0-7 with a 7.43 ERA in nine starts since that victory, but he pitched seven innings of one-run ball in Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Reds.
Norris, though, has a 9.53 ERA while losing his last six road starts. He's faced the Brewers twice this season, including a 5-23-inning outing April 24 when he was tagged for seven runs and nine hits in a 9-6 road loss.
Milwaukee will counter with Marco Estrada (0-4, 4.52), who hasn't won since Aug. 23.
This will be the right-hander's first start against Houston following six relief appearances. Estrada pitched three hitless frames in a 5-3, 10-inning road win over the Astros on July 8.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez could return to the Brewers' lineup Monday after a sore left wrist limited him to pinch-hitting duties Sunday. Ramirez, who is batting .419 (18 for 43) with two homers and eight RBIs since July 17, is 5 for 14 with two homers and two doubles off Norris.
Ryan Braun and Corey Hart have also taken Norris deep twice, with Hart's two homers coming in 2012.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
MILWAUKEE Eight years ago, Mark Rogers was the Brewers' future.
As the team's first round pick in 2004 and the fifth pick overall the expectations for Rogers were astronomical. But two shoulder surgeries and two seasons gone due to those injuries, those expectations began to diminish. Then, a 25-game suspension due to a banned stimulant begged the question of whether...
MILWAUKEE The broken record continues to spin in Milwaukee.
With a 5-2 lead heading into the seventh inning after a solid first start from young pitcher Mark Rogers, the Brewers' bullpen again collapsed on cue, giving up nine runs in the seventh through eleventh innings, silencing the crowd at Miller Park, and giving the Nationals the 3-1 series win.
For a team that leads...
MILWAUKEE After struggles night after night from a once-consistent bullpen, the Milwaukee Brewers fired longtime bullpen coach Stan Kyles on Monday.
Kyles joined the Brewers in 2009 after coaching in the team's minor league system before that. Lee Tunnell will replace Kyles on an interim basis.
"It is important that we make every effort to try to improve our bullpen performance...
John Axford could be on to something. The Brewers closer sparked plenty of Twitter debate on Friday when he compared Tim Tebow to a Kardashian of professional sports. Axford later clarified that he was simply talking about the media attention each receives -- not the pair's respective talent levels. Still, the comparison was met with skepticism by some fans who felt Axford was...
The Brewers made a few minor transactions in the last couple days that didn’t really warrant their own post, so I’m going to recap them now:
– After Sunday’s game, Tyler Thornburg was sent down to AAA Nashville, with the plan to move him back into the starting rotation there. With the Brewers, Thornburg had thrown 14 innings, allowing 7 homers and 7 walks while striking...
Houston Astros fans have had little to cheer about this season, as their lowly Astros have the worst record in the Major Leagues at 34-67. Although the Astros are likely out of playoff contention, their young players do their best to provide a good show for the home crowd.
Such was the case on Friday night, as Justin Maxwell made an acrobatic move to avoid a tag on a safety squeeze...
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Astros ended their team-record losing streak at 12 games, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-5 Sunday behind three hits and three RBIs from Marwin Gonzalez.
Hours after Houston traded third baseman Chris Johnson to Arizona -- the Astros' fifth deal of the month -- Jordan Schafer homered and drove in three runs.
Houston, a big league-worst 35-68, won for only...
Michael Morse hit a tying, two-run homer in the ninth inning, then delivered a two-run double in the 11th that sent the Washington Nationals over the Milwaukee Brewers 11-10 on Sunday.
Bryce Harper drew a leadoff walk from Jose Veras (3-4) in the 11th and Ryan Zimmerman singled. One out later, Morse doubled down the left-field line for an 11-9 lead.
Morse's homer with one out...
The Oakland Athletics, who are in the hunt for a wild-card playoffs spot, added catcher George Kottaras in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Fautino De Los Santos on Sunday. Kottaras, who was designated for assignment Thursday, was hitting .209 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 58 games. He has played in parts of five seasons with Boston and Milwaukee. De Los Santos...
Exploring the Arsenal will run prior to each game, providing you with a brief scouting report on the starting pitcher expected to oppose the Pirates. The chart below shows the horizontal and vertical movement of every pitch thrown by that particular pitcher in 2012. This chart is from the catcher’s point of view. Click here for a general guide to pitch types and classifications...
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Cody Ransom's homer capped a four-run burst in the eighth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers, after firing their bullpen coach, held off the Houston Astros 8-7 Monday night.
The Brewers dismissed Stan Kyles before the game, then watched their shaky relievers barely preserve this victory.
Milwaukee scored four times in the seventh for a 4-3 edge, but the Astros...
HOUSTON (AP) -- Rod Barajas hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied past Houston 4-3 on Saturday night, sending the Astros to their club-record 12th straight loss.
Wandy Rodriguez pitched six innings in his Pittsburgh debut, allowing three runs and six hits with five walks against his former team. The free-falling Astros, who have lost 25...
Norichika Aoki received a little help from the rosin bag behind the mound on Saturday night, allowing the Brewer outfielder to avoid an inning ending double play against the Nationals.
The 30 year old rookie from Hyuga City, Japan would have grounding into an inning ending double play had the ball not struck the bag.
The Nationals wen on to win the game 4-1, as rookie center fielder...
The Pirates found another way to win (or the Astros found another way to lose, depending on how you want to look at it) as they defeated Houston for the third straight night to improve to sixteen games over .500. SIXTEEN!
Wandy Rodriguez‘s Pirates debut was “meh.” He was uncharacteristically wild (five walks despite averaging just 2.2 per nine innings) but pitched out of trouble...