The Houston Astros are not a good baseball team right now. They have lost 26 of their last 29 games, and they have the most losses this season with 71. This is a club that has simply given up for the present (and the next few seasons, quite honestly) with hopes to be competitive in the American League West by 2015 or so.
As for the Braves, who have won eight of their last nine games, they will look for a sweep this weekend. Anything less than a sweep at Turner Field would be a disappointment, and anything more than one loss would be an absolute shock.
If you're looking for an Astro to keep an eye on this weekend, check out second baseman Jose Altuve. All of about 5-foot-7, Altuve is having a solid year with a .300 batting average and OPS of .769. Jordan Schafer, who played in Atlanta before being shipped to Houston in the Michael Bourn trade last summer, is hitting .219 with a miserable .615 OPS.
Here are the start times and pitching matchups for this weekend's series.
Friday, 7:35 p.m. - Tim Hudson (10-4, 3.68 ERA) vs. Armando Galarraga (0-0, 3.60 ERA)
Saturday, 7:10 p.m. - Paul Maholm (9-6, 3.74 ERA) vs. Lucas Harrell (8-7, 4.03 ERA)
Sunday, 1:35 p.m. - Kris Medlen (2-1, 2.43 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (5-8, 5.02 ERA)
For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.