Houston will be out to snap a pair of
losing streaks when they host St. Louis in the opener of a
three-game series at Minute Maid Park.The Astros have lost four in a row
against the first-place Cardinals.
Tonight they turn to Brett Myers in an effort to get
back in the win column while St. Louis counters with Jake Westbrook who opened
as a -145 moneyline favorite with the total at 8.5.
The Cardinals (36-25) have a three-game winning
streak and are also 6-2 in their last eight road games and 14-6 overall. The first-place
Redbirds have a 1.5 game lead over the second-place Brewers while the Astros dead
last in the NL Central Division 12.5 games behind.
Houston’s inability to win at home (11-17) has been
the team’s biggest problem. They’re 6-11 at MMP since April 27 including two losses in three games
against the Cardinals. In that series, the two teams combined for a total of 40
runs giving ‘under’ players three consecutive winners.
The Astros (27-37) offense has been a little uneven.
They’re 8th in the majors with a .260 batting average and ninth in
steals with 50 but are next to last in homers with 38.
The middle of the St. Louis lineup--Albert Pujols,
Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman—is as good as good it gets in the NL. The trio has
a combined 31 home runs and 109 runs batted in with more than 100 games remaining.
Holliday is hitting .342 with six HR’s and 31 RBI’s, Berkman is at .329, 12 and
40 runs while Pujols has a .278 average, 13 homers and 38 and is coming off a
dream weekend in which he hit two walk-off home runs against the Cubs going 6
for 11 with four homers and seven RBI’s overall.
The remainder of the Cardinals starting lineup hasn’t
been bad either. Two regulars, Yadier Molina (.321) and Ryan Theriot (.301) are
hitting above .300 as are part-time players David Freese, Allen Craig and Jon
Jay. Not surprisingly St. Louis leads the majors in hitting at .280 and is
third in runs scored per game (4.93).
By comparison Hunter Pence is Houston’s offensive
leader with eight home runs, 44 runs batted in and a 310 BA.
Cards pitcher Jake Westbrook (5-3, 5.15) appears to
have ironed out his early season problems putting together three straight wins
dating back to May 16. His ERA over that stretch is 2.89, a far cry from April
when he made six starts, worked 30 1/3 innings and allowed 22 runs. He’s been a
solid road play going 3-1. In his last two starts at Colorado and Kansas City
he’s allowed just three runs in 13 innings going 2-0. Westbrook is 0-2 lifetime
against Houston with an ERA of 4.67.
Brett Myers (2-4, 4.82) is another pitcher who is
trying to right his ship after some turbulent times. In his last start on June
1 he allowed one run in six innings to beat the Cubs 3-1. However in his six
previous starts, Myers was 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA including a winless month of May
in which he was 0-3 and had a pair of no-decisions. The veteran right-hander is
6-2 lifetime against St. Louis with four of those victories coming as a member
of the Phillies. P.S. Myers has
surrendered 15 home runs in 75 innings.
From a baseball betting perspective, the ‘over’ is 7-2 in the Astros last nine games and
Myers past 15 starts. The Cards are 19-8-1 to the high side in their 28 road
games and are 20-10-1 to the ‘over’ on the road this season.
The weather forecast is calling for hot and humid
conditions with a 30 percent chance of rain. Light winds of 13 miles per hour
will be blowing out of the South Southeast.
Harvey’s take: I love the ‘over’ tonight. Hitting will rule the roost
this week in Houston.