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Series Preview: Brewers (13-8) at Astros (9-12)

When I wrote my last series preview about the Astros, they were one of the hottest teams in baseball.  They lost two of three at Miller Park, and their win total hasn't changed much since.  I'm a little worried about our starters in the homerific Minute Maid Park, but the matchups look good for another two-out-of-three:

The Astros offense is still in bizarro world: Mark Loretta is the only slightly good hitter among the current top four.  Lance Berkman is sucking it up and the pitching staff isn't throwing well enough to make up for the fact that Brad Ausmus is among the team's batting leaders.  We've got our own problems, I suppose, but they pale in comparison.

Here's an interesting factoid about the Brewers offense: apart from Johnny Estrada (who doesn't walk), Bill Hall (who doesn't suck anymore), and the third base platoon (which doesn't count), the lowest OBP on the team is .347.  Including bench players, which includes official BuntMaster Tony Gwynn Jr.  Let Hall complete his recovery and call up Ryan Braun and we've got a team where just about everybody is in the .350 range.  By contrast, the Astros have one starter (Berkman) above the .340 mark, and walking is all he's been doing--for all the Brewers announcers talk about his fearsomeness, his slugging percentage is lower than Craig Counsell's.

Should you care for some perspective, check out:

After the pain that is a Ben Sheets injury the day before an offday (not to mention Elmer Dessens!), we need a victory.  Preferably seven.  After all, we're a half-game behind the Mets for the best record in the league.  This cannot stand!  Roy Oswalt, you've been warned!