(BaseballSTL) -- Almost a decade ago, the Cardinals and Houston Astros battled for National League supremacy.
Cards right hander Shelby Miller was just 14 years old when the Redbirds knocked off the Astros in Game 7 of the NLCS to capture the Pennant in 2004.
Carlos Beltran’s hot bat scorched Cardinal pitching in that series. However, Houston managed to overcome Albert Pujols’ dramatic home run off Brad Lidge in Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS to reach the World Series.
The Cards and Astros, at one time, shared one of the most heated rivalries in baseball. Either the Cards or Astros won the Central Division every year from 1999-2006.
Both teams represented the National League in the World Series for 3 straight years from 2004-2006.
Things are much different these days.
When the Cards and Astros get together for a two-game series this week at Busch Stadium, both teams are headed in opposite directions. It’s now an interleague series, with the Astros move to the American League. While the Cardinals are a World Series contender, the Astros are stumbling in the basement of the A.L West at 20 games back. Meanwhile, the Cardinals will look to take advantage of a struggling Astros team that’s lost 8 of 10 since beating the Cards on June 26th.
Adam Wainwright takes the mound on Tuesday in search of his 12th victory of the season. Both Wainwright and Lance Lynn give the Cardinals the only team in major league baseball with 2 double digit winning starters. Lynn won his 11th game on Sunday against Miami, giving the Cards their first 3 game sweep of the season at Busch.
The Astros will counter Wainwright with Bud Norris, who has faced the Cardinals more than any other team in his career. Norris sports a 2.74 ERA against the Redbirds, which is second among active pitchers with at least 10 starts.
Despite their differences in the standings and the state of their franchises, the Cardinals and Astros will always share a bond of having one of baseball’s most intense rivalries.