Cardinals vs. Astros Preview and Pick

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St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

St. Louis Cardinals (45-38) +110, o/u 10 at Houston Astros (42-43), 8 p.m. Eastern, ESPN
by Staff

The slumping St. Louis Cardinals head to Texas for a four-game series with their NL Central rivals, the Houston Astros, beginning Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.

Despite winning just three of its’ last 15 games, St. Louis still sits atop the NL Central, two games ahead of second-place Cincinnati.

Houston, which had a four-game winning streak snapped in a 1-0 loss to the Cubs Wednesday, is in fourth place in the NL Central, four games back of the Cardinals.

Houston has won three of five games vs. St. Louis so far this year. The Cardinals won the regular-season series with the Astros last year nine games to four, but Houston beat St. Louis in the NL Championship Series four games to two.

The Cardinals are 19-21 on the road this year, while the Astros are 27-19 at home.

St. Louis starter Sidney Ponson (4-3, 5.60) started this season by going 4-0, but has struggled mightily recently. Ponson has allowed 14 ER and 27 H+W in his last 13 1/3 IP. The Cardinals are 5-7 in Ponson’s starts this year, the over/under 6-6.

Ponson hasn’t started a game vs. Houston since he was a San Francisco Giant in 2003.

Astros’ rookie Taylor Buchholz (5-6, 5.36) has been better of late, giving up just 6 ER and 13 H+W in his last 19 1/3 innings of work. Houston is 6-8 in Buchholz’s starts this season, the o/u 5-9.

Buchholz made his only career start vs. St. Louis five weeks ago, allowing 3 ER and 8 H+W in 5 IP in a 4-3 Astros loss.

The Cardinals own a .346 team OBP this year, which ranks 2nd-best in the NL, and are averaging 5.0 runs per game.

Houston owns a .333 team OBP, 7th-best in the league, and is averaging 4.6 RPG.

The St. Louis bullpen has been clipped for 11 ER and 34 H+W in its’ last 22 IP.

The Astros pen has given up just 1 ER and 11 H+W in its’ last 14 1/3 IP.

The o/u is 46-33 in Cardinals’ games this year, 40-40 in Astros games, and 22-22 at Minute Maid Park.

The Ultimatecapper Pick: How can we side with a team that’s 3-12 in their last 15 games and sends Sidney Ponson to the hill on the road? We look for more of the same (losing) and for the ‘Stros to win the game.

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