Series Preview #34: The New Look Astros

It's only been about three weeks since the Brewers and Astros last met in Houston, but what a difference three weeks can make. Since the All Star break the Brewers have traded away both Zack Greinke and George Kottaras, but the Astros have moved no less than six major leaguers in four separate deals*. If you've fallen behind on your Astro roster moves, here's a recap:

July 20: Traded relievers David Carpenter and Brandon Lyon and starter J.A. Happ to Toronto.

July 21: Traded closer Brett Myers to the White Sox.

July 24: Traded starter Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates.

July 29: Traded third baseman Chris Johnson to the Diamondbacks.

* - They also traded Carlos Lee to the Marlins in a deal on July 4.

Non-coincidentally, the Astros have won just three of their last 27 games.

So, if you're scoring at home, the Astros have removed two regulars from their lineup, two starters from their rotation and three arms from their bullpen in the month of July. That means we'll be seeing some new (to the Astros, at least) faces this week. Here are a few of them:

Dallas Keuchel, LHP

Kuechel is 24 years old and is scheduled to make his seventh major league start on Tuesday. The Astros drafted him in the seventh round in 2009 and promoted him from AAA Oklahoma City after he posted a 4.03 ERA over 89.1 innings this season.

Keuchel has pretty good control (under 2 walks per nine innings in the minors), but has struck out just 4.6 batters per nine over two seasons in AAA and 3.3 per nine in the majors. He has a 4.63 ERA over 35 MLB innings but that's largely propped up by one outstanding outing on June 23.

Francisco Cordero, RHP

The Astros are the sixth major league organization for the one-time Brewer closer, who posted a 5.77 ERA in 41 games for Toronto this season before being included in the ten player deal on July 20. He's second among all active pitchers with 329 career saves, and 12th all time.

Unfortunately, those past successes haven't carried over to Houston. He blew saves in each of his first two opportunities with the team on July 24 and 25 and was quickly removed from the role.

Ben Francisco, OF

The former Indian, Phillie and Blue Jay is 30 now and back in the National League after coming over from Toronto on July 20. He's a career .260/.330/.429 hitter in 496 games, and his career numbers are pretty close to even against lefties and righties.

The fact that a 30-year-old journeyman outfielder is the Astros' third most exciting recent major league addition is a pretty solid indictment of the talent level on this team. With that said, Francisco is hitting .304/.333/.478 in his first nine games for Houston.

The Astros have also recently added one time near-perfect game thrower Armando Galarraga (who the Brewers won't see this week), former Pirate 1B/OF Steve Pearce, former Cardinal reliever Chuckie Fick and called up infielder Brett Wallace.

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