Before the All-Star game, the St. Louis Cardinals were a team fighting for a playoff spot, but not a threat to the division. The Cardinals may have been a playoff team, but their route to October baseball would be through the Wild Card.
Well, after winning their last six games and going 9-1 in their last 10, the Cardinals are now atop the NL Central with a 56-47 record.
Online bookmaker 5Dimes has the Astros at -188 for this contest.
Later this evening, the Cardinals will look to continue their impressive streak when they face the mighty Houston Astros of the AL West. Houston are 7-3 in their last 10 and have a commanding 8 game lead over second-place Oakland in their division.
Tasked with spoiling the Cardinals’ post-All-Star break run will be RHP Gerrit Cole. Cole enters tonight owning a record of 11-5 on the bump with a 3.03 ERA. Cole also leads the Majors with 205 strikeouts and is the leader in strikeouts per nine innings (13.5).
Daniel Ponce de Leon will get the start for St. Louis. He is 1-0 this season with a 2.82 ERA. He hasn’t been able to go the distance in recent games, so it will be interesting to see if Houston’s hitters will chase Ponce de Leon from the game early.
Houston certainly has sluggers on their team. Yuli Gurriel leads the team with 65 RBI on the season, while Alex Bregman is the team leader in Home Runs with 26. Overall, the Astros have 9 hitters with 10 or more Home Runs and 13 hitters with 20 or more RBI.
Paul Goldschmidt has picked up production for the Cardinals. The former Arizona first-baseman has set St. Louis on fire with his recent stretch. He leads the Cardinals with 23 Home Runs and is second on the team with 56 RBI.