The worst team in baseball a year ago, the Houston Astros been surprisingly competitive early, with Sunday’s 12-0 rout of a red-hot Los Angeles team the latest piece of evidence. Now, they hit the road for another stiff challenge — trying to become the first team to beat Zack Greinke in Milwaukee. The Brewers are 19-0 at Miller Park with Greinke on the mound since he was acquired before the 2011 season.
Milwaukee Brewers has started strong following its tumultuous offseason that included losing Prince Fielder during free agency and enduring the drug test controversy surrounding MVP Ryan Braun. The Brewers are tied for second in the National League Central but just one game ahead of fifth-place Houston. Milwaukee has dominated the head-to-head battle of late, winning 16 of the last 21 meetings.
Astros Brewers Betting
When: 8:10 PM ET, Monday, April 23, 2012
Where: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Houston (Houston), Fox Sports Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Lucas Harrell (1-0, 2.55 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Zack Greinke (1-1, 5.09 ERA)
Harrell has been a pleasant surprise in his first real shot as a big-league starter, sandwiching a lackluster outing at Miami on April 13 with a pair of high-quality performances. He worked 6 2/3 innings his last time out at Washington, allowing just one run on four hits. Control has been an issue in Harrell’s last two trips to the mound (7 BB, 6 K), but foes are batting just .219 against him.
Greinke was pummeled in an April 12 loss at Chicago (3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER), but he has again been excellent at home, allowing just two runs in 14 innings at Miller Park while racking up 14 strikeouts against two walks. The right-hander has won all three of his career starts against Houston, posting a 1.71 ERA and striking out 17 in 21 innings.
1. Greinke has not taken a loss in a home start since July 26, 2010, when his Kansas City Royals lost to Minnesota. He has won 16 straight regular-season home decisions since, including 12 in Milwaukee.
2. Harrell has faced Milwaukee just once, going 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a Sept. 2 start last season. Current Brewers are a combined 1-for-12 against him.
3. Milwaukee is 56-24 in its last 80 home games, while Houston has lost 41 of its last 54 on the road.