Matheny recounts past battles with Astros

Matheny recounts past battles with Astros

HOUSTON -- St. Louis manager Mike Matheny may not be too sad, given the way the weekend series in Minute Maid Park is going, that the Astros will be leaving the division for the American League West starting next spring.

But the former Brewers, Cardinals and Giants catcher still has vivid memories of opposing Houston on the field.

"Some of the best baseball games I ever played in were here, especially in '04 in that NLCS," Matheny said. "That was our World Series. We went to the World Series but we forgot to show up.

"That was a heavyweight fight, just the atmosphere," he said. "I remember walked off the field, they had the roof closed, came back in [the clubhouse] and my ears were ringing. It was so loud."

The Astros and Cardinals combined to win or tie for 11 of the 18 division titles (St. Louis with eight, Houston with four) since 1994, when the majors went to three divisions in each league. The two teams were co-NL Central champions in 2001. The Cardinals are 136-132 against the Astros in head-to-head play since 1994.

"It was always tough competition with [Jeff] Bagwell and [Craig] Biggio," Matheny said. "It was just good, hard-nosed baseball."