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.

Cardinals Big Bats

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.

Jake Westbrook pitcher St Louis CardinalsWestbrook Wobbles

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.

Houston Hurler

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.