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Game No. 119 Preview: Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals

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The Cardinals arrive in Houston, with the Astros desperately needing a big series to kickstart any playoff aspirations they may still have.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (61-57), vs. St. Louis Cardinals (62-56), Tuesday, August 16th, 2016, Minute Maid Park, 8.10 PM ET

TV: ROOTSW

Online: MLB.com

Radio: KBME 790, and Radio La Nueva 94.1 FM (Spanish)

St. Louis Cardinals SB Nation Site: Viva El Birdos

Pitching Matchup

Dallas Keuchel, LHP (7-11, 4.56 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 3.56 xFIP) vs. Jaime Garcia, LHP (9-8, 3.93 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 3.68 xFIP).

Preview

The Cardinals arrive in Houston to play a brief interleague series, with two quality left-handed starting pitchers taking the mound. The Astros send the reigning Cy Young winner, Dallas Keuchel, to the rubber after his lights-out start in Texas against the Rangers. Keuchel has held the opposition to two runs, or fewer, in five of his last six starts. Things are turning round for Keuchel.

The Cardinals look to Jaime Garcia to get the win. Over his last two starts Garcia has allowed just two runs over sixteen innings of work, striking out fifteen, and walking just two over those two starts. That said, he has struggled away from home this season with a 4.26 xFIP away from Busch stadium.

We have a terrific pitching matchup tonight. Don't expect too many runs to score off of these two stingy lefties, who are both in excellent form in tough seasons, otherwise. The Cardinals arrive after seeing off the Chicago Cubs with a late, Sunday Night Baseball, power surge.

While the Astros have three players in the top thirty of fWAR (Jose Altuve, 6.2, Carlos Correa, 4.4, George Springer, 3.6), the Cardinals do not have a single representative in the same list. Rather, the Cardinals rely on a Houston-esque balance of platoons, and several contributors per position.

Both teams, over the last seven days, rank in the top ten in team wRC+: the Astros' mark of 123 ranks fourth, whilst the Cardinals' mark of 116 ranks seventh. Two strong offenses. Over the same time span, both teams rank in the bottom half of baseball in baserunning going by Fangraph's BsR.

Concerning pitching, against the current Astros roster, Garcia has limited the hitters to a .250 AVG with a 12.8 K%, and a 2.1 BB%, making for a very good 2.18 FIP. He is yet to allow a home run to any of the hitters currently on the roster.

On the other hand, the current Cardinals roster is hitting .429 off of Keuchel, and he has walked 9.7% of batters. He has, though, a strong 19.4 K% with an excellent 2.61 FIP. He has only allowed two extra base hits, and, like Garcia, is yet to surrender a home run.