The St. Louis Cardinals renew a former NL Central rivalry tonight against the newest member of the AL West, the Houston Astros, in the first game of a quick 2 game series. The Cardinals lineup for tonight’s game, per the Cardinals twitter account is as follows:
#STLCards lineup in Houston: Carpenter 2B, Molina C, Beltran RF, Craig LF, Holliday DH, Adams 1B, Freese 3B, Jay CF, Kozma SS, Westbrook P
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 25, 2013
Houston comes into this game fresh off a 14-6 drubbing at the hands of the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. While that looks terrible, as any loss to the Cubs would naturally look, Houston is actually above .500 in their last 10 games posting a 6-4 record over that stretch. Overall this season, the Astros are 29-48, good for last in the AL West, trailing Albert Pujols‘ Angels squad by 4.5 games.
Tonight’s Starter opposite Jake Westbrook is Lucas Harrell. Harrell is 5-7 on the season, but has pitched much better in the month of June, going 1-1 in 4 outings while amassing 17 strikeouts and surrendering only 4 walks in 26 innings pitched. Despite appearing as if he is rounding into form, Harrell has been susceptible to the long ball this season. In his June appearances, he has allowed a home run in 3 of his 4 starts. In 16 starts this season, Harrell has allowed 11 homers. In 32 starts a year ago, Harrell allowed 13 home runs total.
With the addition of the DH back into the mix tonight the Cardinals lineup looks especially long. Matt Holliday has been bumped down to the 5 spot tonight, which is some foreign territory for the slugger, but it shouldn’t matter where the big man gets at bats, so long as he gets them.
Looking at the rest of the lineup the only other thing I’ll say is, when David Freese is batting 7th, you know you have some serious depth. It certainly doesn’t hurt the Cardinals that their 7th place hitter tonight is a robust 5-10 in his career against Harrell.
There is also a pair of other Cardinals that have had their fair share of success off Harrell appearing tonight for St. Louis. Yadier Molina is tops on the team in batting average against, going 7-12 off Harrell in his career which is good for a .583 batting average. Allen Craig has went 6-13 off Harrell in his career, good for a .462 batting average.
I look for the Cardinals hitters to continue Harrell’s troubles with the long ball tonight, and in the process start the road trip off with a bang.
Enjoy the game fellow Cards fans, I know I will.