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Norris strikes out eight over seven innings

Nobody expected replacing Prince Fielder to be an easy task, but the Brewers certainly didn't anticipate struggling this much offensively.

Entering Tuesday night's game with the Astros, the Brewers are hitting just .227 and boast three regular starters with sub-.200 averages. One of those three is third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who was brought in to help offset the loss of Fielder.

Making matters worse for the Brewers is the fact that these early-season struggles are coming under the tutelage of new hitting coach Johnny Narron. Outfielder Nyjer Morgan, hitting just .119 (5-for-42) and struggling more than anyone on the Brewers' roster, insists that Narron has done all the right things in the midst of this slump, though.

"There's really no answers, man. He's a great hitting coach because he's there for his guys. He's backing us up. He's in our corners," said Morgan, who is expected to be back in the lineup Tuesday after manager Ron Roenicke started Norichika Aoki in Morgan's spot on Monday. "We're in the 'down' part more than the up, and that's where we're going to see the character of your hitting guy and the character of your players.

"When times are going good, everything is beautiful, but when things are going bad, you have to come out with the same attitude."

Houston starter Bud Norris will be among those hoping that Morgan and the Brewers wait at least until the Astros leave town on Wednesday to bust out of that ongoing slump. Norris is coming off his first win of the season, despite turning in the worst of his three outings -- four runs on 10 hits in six innings against the Nationals.

Even if Norris and the Astros are able to keep the Brewers' bats quiet another night or two, don't expect Roenicke to make drastic changes anytime soon.

"You put so much time into why [a lineup] should work, that to change it is saying that all of the stuff you thought made sense doesn't make sense anymore," Roenicke said before Monday's 6-5 victory. "That's kind of crazy. Sometimes you [change the lineup] just to do it, because you do something crazy. But it's set the way it should be set."

Astros: Castro's workload being monitored
Manager Brad Mills said he is still trying to assess just how much of a workload catcher Jason Castro can handle after missing all of last season following major knee surgery.

So far, Castro has started 11 of the team's first 17 games, but there are still some concerns. For one, Mills said the amount of pitched balls that have been getting by Castro is somewhat alarming, though he is still adjusting to the pitching staff. Castro is also the only Major League catcher to start at least 10 games and not throw out a single basestealer.

"We're still feeling our way around on how his knee is going to respond to catching three or four times a week and so forth," Mills said. "We're not 100 percent sure of where we're at yet. We're still talking to the trainers and talking to him after each game and seeing how he feels and how he's moving."

Brewers: Wolf hoping to notch first victory
The offense isn't the only thing off to a slow start in Milwaukee. Veteran left-hander Randy Wolf is 0-2 through his first three starts, allowing 15 earned runs in just 15 1/3 innings.

Wolf is no stranger to struggling out of the gate, though, as he also started last season 0-2 and carried a 7.20 ERA after his first two outings. The 35-year-old started to turn the corner in his last start, but he dropped a 4-3 decision to the Dodgers.

"It's pretty frustrating," Wolf said of some well-placed hits in that outing, "but that's sometimes how your day will go."

Worth noting
• Carlos Lee has a lifetime average of .156 (5-for-32) against Wolf. Current Astros players, not including pitchers, are hitting just .172 (11-for-64) against the left-hander.

• Since 2002, the Brewers lead the head-to-head series by just three games, 83-80.

• Monday marked the first time this season the Astros lost when scoring five or more runs. They are now 5-1 when they score five or more runs and 1-10 when they don't. Comments