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Series Preview: Houston Astros at St. Louis Cardinals, June 14-15, 2016

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Astros face an old foe in the Cardinals for two games.

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (30-35) at St. Louis Cardinals (35-28), June 14-15, 2016

If only for a moment the Houston Astros will look like a National League Central team once against as the team faces the St. Louis Cardinals for two games. If you squint hard enough it feels like the Astros are back where they belong, the pitcher is batting and the Cardinals are still the Cardinals.

But this isn't 2004 or 2005 for that matter, the Houston Astros are floundering in 2016. A rough offensive week has put the kibosh on any positive vibes from the Astros winning ways to end May and start June. The team is back to five games under .500 and doesn't really have a clear path back to the promise land.

The Cardinals didn't the season strong but have found their winning ways again to push themselves into second place in the N.L. Central behind the juggernaut Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals have won six of their last seven games. The Cardinals swept third place Pittsburgh Pirates at Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Both teams come into Tuesday's game with a day off. Let's go:

Starting pitching

Tuesday: RHP Doug Fister (6-3, 3.34 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) vs. LHP Jaime Garcia (4-5, 3.89 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Wedesday: RHP Collin McHugh (5-5, 5.22 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (5-4, 5.21 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Doug Fister hasn't been the Astros best pitcher by far this season. Fister is 2-0 with 0.75 ERA in his two June starts (12 IP), he has struck out eight, walked three and allowed one run on 11 hits. The Astros have won the last eight games with Fister on the mound.

Fister is 0-1 with a 5.20 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the St. Louis Cardinals. He is 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA in 8 1/3 inning at Busch Stadium in his career. Current Cardinals are batting .302 (16x53) against Fister with a .286 BABIP, 6.34 FIP, 16.9 K%, and a 3.4 BB%.

Jaime Garcia struggled in his last start, allowing five runs on 13 hits against the Reds. He pitched five innings and allowed two runs in his previous start on June 1 against the Brewers -- 82 pitches.

Garica is 2-5 with a 6.41 ERA in five career starts against Houston. Current Astros are batting .297 (19x64) against Garcia with a .352 BABIP, 1.93 FIP, 16.7 K%, and a 1.5 BB%.

Collin McHugh will once again have to rebound from a staggering start, he gave up four runs in 3 2/3 inning on June 9 against the Rangers. Adam Wainwright pitched six strong innings aginst the Reds in his last start, striking out six.

Lineup

Frankly Jose Altuve has been the only consistent hitter for the Astros over the past week entering Tuesday's game. His batting .429 (9x21) with four RBIs in the No. 3 with Carlos Correa out with an injury -- Correa returns to the lineup today. Evan Gattis, Jason Castro, Carlos Gomez and George Springer are batting at .160 or below in their last 20 at-bats.

Yadier Molina, Brandon MossMatt HollidayJhonny Peralta, and Matt Adams are batting over .300 in their last 20 at-bats. Molina is batting .429 (9x21) with two doubles and two RBIs. Moss has seven RBIs in his last 22 at-bats. Matt Carpenter has three doubles, a home run and six RBIs in his last 15 at-bats.

Prediction

Astros split two with Fister on the mound.

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