ST. LOUIS - MAY 13: Humberto Quintero #55 of the Houston Astros blocks the plate against Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals as umpire Jim Joyce #68 looks on at Busch Stadium on May 13, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Astros beat the Cardinals 4-1. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
The next time Houston plays in St. Louis, they'll be doing so a member of the AL West.
The Cardinals and the Astros were division rivals for over half a century, with the rivalry coming to a head in a series of epic playoff series in the mid-2000's.
Those days are but a distant memory now, as Houston (48-99), which will move to the AL West in 2013, continues playing out the string in one of the worst seasons in franchise history. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are locked in a tight playoff race for the NL Wild Card race, only a game up on the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As a result, this week's series is the closest a rebuilding Astros team could come to a playoff chance for a long while. Houston will be sending Fernando Abad, a third-year pitcher with only four career starts, to the mound to face Kyle Lohse, who has emerged as the Cardinals ace in 2012, with a 14-3 record and a 2.81 ERA.
The 7:15 p.m. game will be telecast on Fox Sports Houston and broadcast on the radio on KTRH 740 AM.