Notes, numbers and nuggets before a weekend series in Milwaukee

* Since starting the season with a dreadful 1-7 record, the Astros are 6-5 over their last 11 games, raising the team batting average by nearly 40 points while shaving nearly three runs off the pitching staff’s ERA:

Record    Avg.   R    ERA   SO
April 10-21   6-5          .278       52   3.40    83
April 1-9        1-7           .239       28   6.42    41

* Several current Astros played for the Brewers at one point in their careers, including Jason Bourgeois (2009), Nelson Figueroa (2002), Bill Hall (2002-09), Joe Inglett (2010), Carlos Lee (2005-06) and bullpen coach Jamie Quirk (1977).

* Jeff Keppinger, who had left foot surgery last offseason and has been rehabbing in Kissimmee, Fla., will play in an extended Spring game today. He will DH only.

* It’s c-c-c-cold in Milwaukee. Temps are not expected to exceed 50 degrees at any point this weekend, and currently, it’s about 42 degrees. Fortunately, Miller Park has a) heat and b) a roof.  It also has the mid-game sausage race, the second-best mascot race in baseball (behind only the sprinting presidents in Washington, D.C.)

*On the Minor League front, several farmhands have had strong starts to the season. Through Thursday’s games…

Triple-A Oklahoma City:
SS Tommy Manzella — .320 (16-for-50); three doubles, one triple, one home run, nine RBIs.
OF J.B. Shuck — .340 (16-for-47), two doubles, one RBI.

On the injury front, 2b Jose Vallejo has been placed on the disabled list (left shoulder), retroactive to April 21. Prior to the injury, he was hitting .292 (7-for-24).

Double-A Corpus Christi: 
OF Jon Gaston — .304 (14-for-46), four doubles
J.D. Martinez .347 (17-for-49). Seven doubles, two home runs, 19 RBIs.
IF Wladimir Sutil – .397 (23-for-58), four doubles, 2 RBIs
RHP David Carpeneter — 1.35 ERA over seven relief appearances: (1 ER/6.2 IP), three BB, seven Ks.

Class A Lancaster:
OF Jay Austin –.369 (24-for-65), four doubles, 2 home runs, 11 RBIs
1b Kody Hinze — .309 (17-for-55), three doubles, six home runs, 15 RBIs
SS Henry Villar — .309 (17-for-55), three doubles, one triple, one home run, 13 RBIs

Class A Lexington:
OF Adam Bailey — .333 (17-for-51), one double, five home runs, 10 RBIs
3B Mike Kvasnicka — .313 (15-for-48), three doubles, two triples
C Chris Wallace — .358 (19-for-53), five doubles, six home runs, 19 RBIs
RHP Tanner Bushue — 3-0, 1.80 ERA (4ER/20IP), four walks, nine strikeouts

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