If his recent efforts are any indication, the Milwaukee Brewers' Mike Fiers appears to have a very bright future ahead of him.
A matchup with the major league-worst Houston Astros may only improve his superb rookie campaign.
Fiers looks to continue his dominating stretch Wednesday as the Brewers try for a three-game sweep of the Astros.
Called up to the majors in late May, Fiers (4-4, 1.77 ERA) posted mixed results over his first three starts but has been lights out since. The right-hander has compiled a 0.75 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .179 average over eight appearances - seven starts - since June 16, the best marks in the majors over that span.
"I think with the deception and the way he can change speeds, I think this is a guy that is going to be able to pitch in the major leagues for a while," manager Ron Roenicke said. "At the beginning, I wasn't sure. But he keeps going. And it's not just one team, it's every team he pitches against."
Fiers was very sharp again Friday in a 6-0 win over Washington, striking out nine over 6 1-3 innings of four-hit ball. He has 67 strikeouts in 66 innings this year.
"I just try to throw as many strikes as I can. I try to get the guys to swing the bat," Fiers told the Brewers' official website. "When you start throwing a lot of strikes, you get the guys ready to swing. Then you can expand the zone. I just think of myself as a strike thrower, and I try to throw as many strikes as I can."
Fiers will be getting his first look at an Astros club coming off its 27th loss in 30 games. Milwaukee (47-56) won 10-1 on Tuesday behind seven strong innings from Yovani Gallardo and three-run homers from Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart.
"I would hate to be without either one of them," Roenicke said of Ramirez and Hart, who had both been considered trade candidates before Tuesday's deadline passed.
Ryan Braun went 1 for 2 with two walks and two runs scored after missing Monday's 8-7 victory with a blister.
Houston (35-70) has been outscored 139-57 in dropping 21 of its last 22 road games - including each of its last eight while compiling an 8.86 ERA.
The Astros could have a hard time stopping that skid with Jordan Lyles (2-7, 5.54) on the mound. The right-hander was staked to an early lead Friday but couldn't preserve it, allowing four runs over six-plus innings during a 6-5 loss to Pittsburgh.
"I didn't do a good job of closing the door ... I have to do a better job when they put up four runs for me," he said.
Lyles has been hit especially hard on the road, where opponents are batting .339 against him. He's posted an 8.88 ERA in losing five consecutive starts as the visiting pitcher, and Houston has dropped all eight of his road starts.
Lyles is 0-1 despite a 2.77 ERA in two career starts in this series. He gave up two runs and six hits over seven innings of a 5-3, 10-inning home loss to the Brewers on July 8.
He'll need to be wary of Ramirez, who's gone 23 for 52 (.442) with three homers and 13 RBIs in his last 14 games.
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Houston Astros
- Ron Roenicke