The Brewers (77-72) hope to take advantage of a break by facing Houston rookie Felipe Paulino when they continue their three-game series against the Astros on Tuesday.
Paulino (0-0, 11.25 ERA) will take the mound Tuesday in place of Oswalt, who is skipping the outing to be with his wife, who is due to give birth to their second child.
Paulino is making his first major league start. He has made two relief appearances with Houston (65-85) this year, including a one-inning outing on Saturday against the Pirates. The 23-year-old right-hander was 6-9 with a 3.62 ERA over 22 games - including 21 starts - with Double-A Corpus Christi.
Despite not facing Oswalt, who is 14-7 this year, Milwaukee manager Ned Yost didn’t see the Brewers receiving an advantage from the switch.
“Every game is a huge game for us,” Yost said. “If I feel fortunate that we’re not facing Oswalt, that takes away from what (Juan) Gutierrez and Paulino can do against you. If you think, for one second, that you’ve got an advantage because those two guys are pitching over the other guys, you’re going to get your butt whipped.”
Milwaukee, which has scored at least five runs in its last four games, is one game behind the Cubs in the NL Central. Chicago rallied to beat Cincinnati 7-6 on Monday.
The Brewers, who haven’t faced a team with a winning record since playing the Cubs between Aug. 28-30, have won three straight after a 6-0 victory over the Astros on Monday. Starter Yovani Gallardo pitched eight strong innings, allowing just seven hits, while Corey Hart drove in two runs and Kevin Mench hit a solo home run.
“Playing for something this year is a lot better than trying to play the spoiler, like we were the last couple of years,” said Hart, who is hitting .423 (33-for-78) in the last 24 games. “It’s definitely gratifying to be here.”
Prince Fielder also scored his 100th run of the season to become the fifth player in Milwaukee history to reach 100 RBIs and 100 runs in the same year.
Houston, meanwhile, has lost nine of its last 12 games and was shut out for the seventh time this year.
Milwaukee has won 12 of the 16 meetings this season against the Astros. The Brewers are trying to win four in a row overall for the first time since doing so from July 14-17.
They will hand the ball to ace Ben Sheets (12-5, 3.78), who will pitch on three days’ rest after one of his shortest outings of the season. The right-hander pitched three innings against the Reds on Friday and allowed five runs for the second straight game, suffering a 6-5 loss.
“Four runs in the first pretty much dooms my chances for getting deep in that game and puts us in a big bind,” said Sheets, who threw just 50 pitches.
Sheets is 10-8 with a 3.74 ERA in 23 career starts against the Astros. He is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three starts against them this season
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