Former Cards, current Astros having a rough start -

Former Cards, current Astros having a rough start

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By Scott Bierman By Scott Bierman

(BaseballStL) -- It’s safe to say that the Houston Astros, in particular former St. Louis Cardinals prodigies Rick Ankiel and Brett Wallace, are having a tough start to the 2013 season.

While the Astros continue to get acclimated to life in the American League, the team was hoping the addition of Ankiel would provide some pop into a young offense. He has provided some of that power when he’s made contact. The only problem is that he really hasn’t made a lot of contact.

Ankiel, not known for a great batting average to begin with, has four hits through 23 at-bats entering Monday. Two of those hits were home runs and one was a double. It’s usually a great thing if 75 percent of a player’s hits are for extra bases, but it isn’t a great thing with a .174 batting average.

It only gets worse for Ankiel.

In those 23 at-bats, he has 17 strikeouts. So to say he has been “all-or-nothing” this season is not a stretch. To his credit, he does have eight runs batted in 10 games played, but he hasn’t recorded a single walk so his on-base percentage is the same as his batting average.

It’s been even worse for Wallace, who was penciled in as the team’s starting first baseman.

Once a product in the Cardinals’ farm system, Wallace has been miserable for the Astros. The emergence of Chris Carter isn’t helping Wallace either.

So how bad is it? If you’re squeamish, look away...

Wallace is 1-for-24, including hitless in his last 20 at-bats over the last six games played. And like Ankiel, he has 17 strikeouts already. He has walked twice in seven games played in 2013.

You have to feel bad for the struggling 26-year-old, who hit .293 in 62 games played for the Memphis Redbirds in 2009.

Despite the struggles of these two former Cardinals products, the Astros have managed a 4-8 record which is tied with the robust Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Tampa Bay Rays. That record will likely take a hit when they start a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics, the top team in the AL.

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