Rodriguez looks to set a personal record for consecutive scoreless innings with another dominant performance against the Brewers on Friday night.
The Astros (47-60) had their seven-game win streak halted with an 8-4 loss at St. Louis on Wednesday. Their surge included a three-game sweep of Milwaukee (50-59) last weekend, during which they outscored the Brewers 16-2.
Rodriguez (9-11, 4.49 ERA) tossed a gem in that series, scattering five hits with nine strikeouts in eight innings of a 6-0 win Saturday. The left-hander was nearly as impressive in his previous start against the Brewers on June 30 at Miller Park, yielding one run while striking out six in seven innings of a 5-1 victory.
“The guy had good command of his curveball,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said Saturday. “And this is his second time out against us, and his curveball again was pretty dominant.”
Rodriguez has gone 5-2 with a 2.81 ERA in eight overall starts against Milwaukee, allowing one or no earned runs in six of them.
He has been even better lately, winning six of seven starts with a 1.91 ERA. He’s pitched 15 straight scoreless innings over his last two games, three shy of his personal record set from July 2-21, 2009.
“He’s throwing the ball extremely well, commanding that fastball, which is setting up the curveball,” manager Brad Mills(notes) said. “When he’s able to spot that fastball and his curveball’s like it is, it’s going to be tough.”
While Rodriguez will be looking to continue his dominant pitching, the Astros will be trying to stay hot offensively.
Houston has batted .320 with eight homers while outscoring opponents 61-20 over the last eight games. It’s a much-needed hot streak for a club that is among the worst hitting teams in baseball, as the Astros have a .245 average, 411 runs, a .304 on-base percentage and a .363 slugging percentage.
He has gone 9 for 17 with three doubles, a homer and six RBIs in five games - all wins - against the Brewers this season.
Houston has dropped 21 of 29 at Miller Park, but Milwaukee has the fewest home victories in the NL with a 24-28 record.
The Brewers also enter this series having lost six of eight and are coming off a 15-3 loss at Chicago on Wednesday.
Dave Bush(notes) (5-9, 4.55) is scheduled to oppose Rodriguez for the third time this season. The right-hander was victimized by the Astros’ lineup Saturday, giving up six runs and a season high-tying 10 hits in five innings to lose for the third time in four starts. He has a 6.43 ERA in that span.
Bush also lost to Rodriguez and the Astros on June 30 despite pitching six innings of two-run ball. He has gone 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three matchups with Houston this season.