The Cardinals start a three game series with the Houston Astros on Tuesday night, the first of nine more games the Cards have with the Astros and Chicago Cubs.

They might be poor teams, but you still have to play and win the games. We’ve all been down this road before and know that spoiler teams can play a significant role down the stretch. The schedule certainly favors the Cardinals as compared to the LA Dodgers, but having an easy schedule doesn’t mean anything if you don’t take advantage of it.

The Redbirds currently stand at 77-70. They have 15 games left in the season and most likely have to win at least 9 or 10 games to force a one-game playoff with the Atlanta Braves. With the day off and Kyle Lohse starting tonight, I’m feeling confident that they will be able to win the first of those games tonight.

Some other tidbits:

BOOK WATCH: Tony LaRussa’s new book, titled One Last Strike, will be released a week from today on September 25. Co-written with Rick Hummel, LaRussa delves into a lot of different things, notably the last couple months of the 2011 season.

STRUGGLING CARDS: The Cardinals are 6-13 since Aug. 28. Over the last 19 games they have a 5.09 ERA, .231 batting average and are scoring 3.3 runs per game. Luckily, the Dodgers are 9-16 in their last 25 games.

SCHUMAKER UP FOR AWARD: Skip Schumaker is one of six finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award. You can vote for him here.