Astros-Cardinals Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 20, 2012
The St. Louis Cardinals' longest game in more than two years didn't go their way, but the team remains in the playoff hunt. The major league-worst Houston Astros aren't even close to contention, but interim manager Tony DeFrancesco still plans to treat the final stretch like a pennant chase. Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright will try to win his sixth straight start against the Astros on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. With a chance to tie division rival Pittsburgh in the standings, St. Louis (65-56) fell 6-3 to the Pirates in 19 innings Sunday in a game that took 6 hours, 7 minutes. It was the Cardinals' longest game since going 20 innings against the New York Mets on April 17, 2010. "I don't know if it could be any more disappointing," manager Mike Matheny told the Cardinals' official website. Chasing down NL Central-leading Cincinnati might be a stretch, but St. Louis is still well within striking distance of a wild-card spot. "We've got to win every series. It doesn't matter who it's against," Matheny said. The Astros (39-83) seem like the perfect opponent for the Cardinals, who have nine more games against Houston as they look to make another late-season playoff push. The majors' worst road team at 12-48, the Astros haven't won a series in an NL opponent's park this season. The Astros make their first visit to St. Louis in 2012 - these clubs have split six games at Houston - with an 0-1 record since DeFrancesco, the former manager of the franchise's Triple-A affiliate, replaced the fired Brad Mills following Saturday's 12-4 loss to Arizona. "My first major league managing game didn't work out the way I wanted it," DeFrancesco said after an 8-1 loss to the Diamondbacks on Sunday. "But it was an honor to put the Astros uniform on and be part of the organization." While Houston's management will use the final six weeks of the season to evaluate talent on the NL's youngest team, DeFrancesco will also be under the microscope with first-year owner Jim Crane hoping to name a permanent manager by Nov. 1. "If there's a guy that comes in and knocks our socks off, it might be in two weeks," Crane said. DeFrancesco may have a hard time getting his first win with Wainwright (11-10, 3.87 ERA) taking the ball. The right-hander, 4-0 with a 2.04 ERA in his past five outings overall, is 11-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 13 starts against Houston after recording victories at Minute Maid Park on May 6 and June 6. Wainwright has held the Astros without a run over 16 innings in his last two home starts in the series. Lucas Harrell (10-8, 3.81), who has accounted for three of Houston's seven wins over its last 47 games, will try to help the club end a four-game skid in his first career start at St. Louis. The Missouri native has allowed four runs - three earned - in each of his two starts against the Cardinals this season, winning both. The right-hander has given up two runs or fewer in each of his seven starts since the All-Star break, posting a 2.06 ERA in that stretch. St. Louis third baseman David Freese, 3 for 7 with two doubles off Harrell, is tied with Allen Craig and Tyler Greene for the most homers (two) by a Cardinal off Houston pitching in 2012. Greene, though, will be in an Astros jersey for this three-game set after the Cardinals traded him Aug. 9 for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LeBron: ‘I don’t really see a problem’ with Hack-a-Shaq

Report: Asking price 'too steep' for Howard trade to Celtics

Ex-teammate: 'Fair to assume' Lynch done with Seahawks

Steve Young: ‘I’m worried about Matthew’ Stafford

Report: Clippers, Nuggets have discussed Blake Griffin trade

Report: Louisville basketball implements postseason ban

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

‘Actor’ Todd Gurley wants to make ‘billions’

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

David Price donates $300K to build field for special needs kids

J.R. Smith pulls a Marshawn on 3-point contest slight

Tom Brady has clock counting down to Super Bowl LI

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The Jaguars and NFL’s permanent calling in London

John Scott’s NHL All-Star Game Odyssey: Now in storybook form

Bazed but not confused: Why Bazemore is in for a payday

Tyrann Mathieu offers to help Johnny Manziel

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Johnny Manziel dropped by agent

Michael Irvin: Cowboys should save Manziel

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

The merits of trading Blake Griffin to the Hornets

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

Could the Marlins contend in 2016?

Report: Browns to cut Manziel in March

Browns rip Manziel in statement

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker