Series Preview 8/16-17: Cardinals @ Astros

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Photos are credited to Getty Images.

This week, the Cardinals are at Minute Maid Park in Houston to face the Astros for two games, beginning on Tuesday evening.

Prior to Tuesday’s series opener, the Cardinals placed reliever Seth Maness on the 15-day disabled list and announced that he would be undergoing Tommy John surgery; Sam Tuivailala was recalled from Triple-A to take Maness’ spot on the active roster. The Cardinals also announced that Matt Holliday will be having a procedure on his fractured right thumb. Holliday is hopeful to return this season, while Maness will be sidelined much of the 2017 season.

In the first game of the series, the Astros will give the nod to Dallas Keuchel. The 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner has not had as stellar of a season this year, but he has had shown some flashes of that dominance over his last few starts. Keuchel is 3-2 with a 3.06 earned run average over his last seven starts, including his most recent outing, one where he held the powerful Rangers’ offense to three hits in his complete-game shutout back on August 5. His counterpart will be Jaime Garcia. Garcia has logged a total of sixteen innings over his previous pair of starts, in which he has allowed two earned runs and posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 15:2.

The finale of the teams’ season series will be starter by Doug Fister. Fister has been the Astros most consistent starting pitcher this season, and his season statistics and numbers based on his more recent starts are clear representations of that. With a team-best 3.61 ERA to his name thus far in 2016, Fister has a 3.50 mark over his last seven outings and has allowed seventeen earned runs in that span. St. Louis will go with Carlos Martinez in Wednesday’s matinee. Martinez’s command has taken a tumble over his recent handful of outings, as the 24-year-old right-hander has walked nine batters over his last eighteen frames and allowed thirteen earned runs.

Who’s hot?

Cardinals: Randal Grichuk, outfielder. Grichuk has four hits in thirteen at-bats since returning from a stint in the minors. All four of those hits have went for extra bases, including two homers and as many doubles.

Astros: Jose Altuve, second baseman. The speedy Altuve is batting a whopping .467 over his last seven games, during which he has scored six runs and tallied seven RBIs.

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