When the Astros and Brewers square off today at Miller Park it will end another chapter in one of the most unique rivalries in MLB history. As everyone knows by now, the Astros have only four games remaining before moving to the American League. Most fans are probably also aware that the Brewers are the only other MLB team to ever switch leagues, moving from the A.L. to the N.L. in 1998. But I’d imagine only a few will remember the first time these two teams met in a regular season game.
When interleague play was introduced in 1997 the Brewers were still playing in the American League and the Astros welcomed the them to the Astrodome for a three-game series starting on the first day of September. The Brewers, managed by Phil Garner, won the game 3-2 behind starting pitcher Joel Adamson. Chris Holt took the loss for an Astros team that would go on to capture their first division crown in eleven years. Former Astros closer Doug Jones picked up the save. The Brewers would win two of the three interleague games played against Houston before moving to the National League the following season.
The Brewers would struggle to find success in the senior circuit, especially against the Astros. In ’98 the Astros beat the Brewers nine times in eleven contests. It was the first of nine straight years in which the Astros would win the season series against Milwaukee, accumulating a record of 88 wins and 50 losses against the Brew Crew. Milwaukee would endure seven losing seasons in the N.L. before finally finishing at .500 in 2005.
Milwaukee finally turned the tables on the Astros in 2007, winning 13 of 18 in the season series. Milwaukee has, for the most part, maintained the upper hand over the Astros in recent years. Last night’s win gave the Brewers 61 victories in the last 97 games played between the two teams. This year the Astros have won seven and lost nine and Houston still leads the all-time series with 124 wins against 111 for Milwaukee.
After today, the Astros and Brewers will have to wait for the schedule-makers to renew their rivalry. When the two teams eventually meet again as interleague combatants the shoe will be on the other foot, so to speak.