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Series Preview: Astros at Cardinals

After sweeping the powerhouse Phillies in a two-game series, the Cardinals now play host to the sad sack Astros for a two-game set.

The wins over the tough Phillies were a pleasant relief after being swept in a three-game set in Cincinnati during the weekend. But the Birds can't afford to take the Astros lightly.

Houston, 15-27 has the worst record in the National League and has only the Minnesota Twins to thank that they don't have the worst record in all of baseball. But you can throw out the records because the immortal Bud Norris is going to pitch the Wednesday opener.

Pitching match-ups:

The previously mentioned Bud Norris (2-2, 3.42) will take on Kyle Lohse (4-2, 2.31) in the first game Wednesday night. Norris is 5-1 with a 1.97 ERA in his career against St. Louis for reasons that God only knows. He won his previous meeting with the Cardinals, scattering seven hits over six innings while allowing three runs, none of them earned. Lohse beat Houston his last time against them with four hits allowed in seven shut out innings. During Lohse's most recent start in Cincinnati he pitched well -- allowing two runs on seven hits -- but was tagged with a loss because of poor support from the hitters.

In the daytime finale on Thursday, JA Happ (3-4, 5.40) will face Kyle McClellan (5-1, 3.62). Happ is 1-3 with a 5.27 ERA in his career against the Cardinals. He allowed two solo homers amongst five hits in his last start against St. Louis to take the loss. McClellan had his worst start of the year the last time he pitched against the Astros. He gave up five earned runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings -- but still walked away with the win

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