The Houston Astros know they can’t afford too many more losses if they hope to reach the playoffs.
They’ll look to avoid back-to-back defeats to one of the worst teams in the league when they close out a three-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
The Astros’ run for a playoff spot absorbed a major setback Saturday as they suffered an 8-0 loss to the Brewers.
However, with Chicago’s 4-3 loss to the New York Mets in 11 innings on Saturday, Houston remained 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs for the wild card. The Astros only have seven games left, while the Cubs have eight. Houston is third in the wild-card standings, two games behind the San Francisco Giants.
“This could be the season,” Houston starter Pete Munro said. “It’s a tough loss to take. We just ran into the wrong team at the wrong time.”
The Astros won’t get much help from their schedule after this series. On Monday, Houston begins a season-sending homestand with a three-game set against the major league-best St. Louis Cardinals. They’ll close out the campaign with a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.
After their series finale with the Mets on Sunday, the Cubs have a four-game set with Cincinnati before closing out the season with three games against the playoff-bound Atlanta Braves.
Milwaukee’s Wes Obermueller pitched a six-hitter for his first career shutout Saturday, retiring the first 13 batters.
“Pete did a fine job,” Houston manager Phil Garner said of Munro. “It wasn’t Pete’s pitching. It was our offense just not going well.”
The Astros have scored just one run so far in the series—they won the opener 1-0 on Friday.
“A loss is a loss, no matter how you look at it,” Houston outfielder Craig Biggio said. “But when you score one run in two days, you’re not going to win a lot of baseball games that way.”
Russell Branyan homered, doubled and drove in three runs and Keith Ginter also hit a home run for the Brewers, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
“We scored early for Wes, took some pressure off him in a big game and we were able to pile on some runs,” Branyan said.