"You are wanting to make a good impression," said Maholm, who was acquired from the Cubs on Monday. "You have to go out there and pitch your game and do as well as you can."
The left-hander was electric in July, posting a 1.23 ERA in five starts and a relief appearance. He gave up just one homer over that span.
Maholm became the only Cubs left-hander since 1900 to make six consecutive starts of at least six innings with one or no runs allowed.
"Paulie is arguably the best pitcher the last month in all of baseball," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
He'll be facing an Astros lineup with youth and inexperience throughout due to several trades in the weeks leading up to last Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Brett Wallace has taken advantage of his time in the Majors this season, batting .320 with four homers and seven RBIs in 15 games.
Wallace, a 25-year-old first baseman, returned to the club last Monday, and hit two homers on Wednesday against the Brewers.
"He's just having much more confidence the way he's swinging the bat," manager Brad Mills said. "I think we saw that the last time he was up, that he was swinging the bat extremely well. It was nice to see him swinging the bat really well, get those two home runs and get the three hits on Wednesday. And we're looking for him to kind of keep going now."
The Astros have lost 29 of 32 games. According to Elias, they've never had such a stretch in club history.
Astros: Harrell takes the ball
Right-hander Lucas Harrell will start for the Astros on Saturday, also looking to build upon his success in July, when he posted a 3.03 ERA in five starts.
In his last start, he went 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits against the Pirates.
Harrell leads the National League in innings by a rookie. On June 27, he became the only rookie in the NL to throw a shutout.
Second baseman Jose Altuve extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single in the first inning on Friday night.
Braves: Simmons not expected back until September
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, dealing with a fractured pinkie finger, may not return to the Braves' lineup until September.
"I think it's going to be closer to eight weeks than six weeks," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "At the best, it would be the last week of August."
Simmons, 22, was batting .296 in 33 games for the Braves. Paul Janish, acquired in a trade from Cincinnati, has filled in at shortstop.
With a victory on Friday, the Braves are 61-1 when taking a lead into the seventh inning or later. That is the best mark in baseball, according to Elias.
Third baseman Chipper Jones needs two more runs for 1,600 in his career.
Astros catcher Chris Snyder is 3-for-7 with five RBIs in his career against Maholm.