After splitting a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, their biggest threat in the race for the second wild card spot in the NL, the St. Louis Cardinals have a chance to open up some ground when they begin a three-game home stand Tuesday night against the hapless Houston Astros.
Houston, with the worst record (48-99) and run differential (-206) in MLB by a significant margin, has long since been playing out the chase.
St. Louis is 6-3 against them this season and they still have six games left, which could be a huge edge in the Cardinals' attempt to make it back into the postseason to defend their 2011 World Series championship.
Kyle Lohse, in the midst of the best season of his 12-year career, will take the mound for St. Louis. Houston will counter with Fernando Abad, a third-year pitcher with only four career starts in the majors.
The 7:15 p.m. game will be telecast on Fox Sports Missouri and broadcast on KMOX 1120 AM.