Series Preview: Brewers (16-12) @ Astros (13-16)

The Brewers continue their road trip with a 3-game series in Houston to face the Astros for the first time in 2008.
Pitching Probables:
Friday, 5/02, 7:05 p.m. CT: RHP Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 4.66) vs. RHP Roy Oswalt (2-3, 5.75)
Saturday, 5/03, 6:05 p.m. CT: LHP Manny Parra (1-1, 4.94) vs. RHP Brandon Backe (1-3, 4.65)
Sunday, 5/04, 1:05 p.m. CT: RHP Ben Sheets (4-0, 1.64) vs. RHP Chris Sampson (1-3, 7.15)
Things to look for:
1. Now that Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin has returned the roster to 13 position players and 12 pitchers and resolved the issues of the extra outfielder (trading Gabe Gross to Tampa Bay), the extra starter (demoting Dave Bush to Nashville) and the extra reliever (designating Derrick Turnbow for assignment), will the club focus more on playing better baseball now that the roster appears to be set? (Note: only 4 pitchers from the 2007 opening day roster remain: Ben Sheets, Jeff Suppan, Carlos Villanueva, and Brian Shouse).
2. Will the Brewers’ pitchers get a boost from facing the Astros, currently 26th in the majors in BA?
3. Can the Brewers win in Houston, a city where they’ve struggled over the past few seasons? Last year, however, ESPN.com reminds us that the Crew went 13-5 against the Astros, their highest win total against a team in a season since joining the NL.
4. Can the Brewers start on their quest to repeat their 33 home runs against Astros pitching that they achieved in 2007, 50% more than any other team?
We’ll find out Friday night.

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