The Cardinals and Angels are moving in opposite directions.
Having fallen recently from atop the National League, St. Louis has dropped seven of its last nine games while the Angels are climbing their way to .500 with a seven-game winning streak, including a 5-1 victory over the Cardinals in the series opener on Tuesday.
Much like his team, Shelby Miller will be looking to bounce back from a poor outing. In his last start on Friday, he was knocked around by the A's for six hits and five runs, needing 61 pitches to navigate 1 2/3 innings, the shortest start of his young career. Miller has since identified some issues with his fastball -- lacking life and movement -- and his tempo, which he found was rushed. He threw a longer-than-normal bullpen session Sunday, tossing 35 pitches instead of his usual 20.
"I feel like my fastball command hasn't been good lately and the life doesn't feel like it's there," Miller said. "I went back and looked at film earlier in the year, and mechanics probably aren't exactly the same but they're not that far off. I'm just going through a hard time right now trying to throw strikes. And it's just not working out right now."
Miller has lost three of his past four starts, allowing at least four earned runs in each. Through his first 12 starts this season, Miller had a 1.91 ERA with 81 strikeouts.
With Jason Vargas still on the disabled list due to a blood clot in his left armpit area, Jerome Williams will start for the Angels. The right-hander is making consecutive starts for the first time in nearly five weeks. He is 4-3 with a 3.51 ERA in 9 starts this season.
In his last outing, Williams matched Houston ace Bud Norris through 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run on a solo shot from Jason Castro. He scattered five hits and walked three while also striking out three.
"I kept the ball down for the most part and just left that one pitch up to Castro," Williams said after the game. "He hit it out, but I had guys rolling over the ball for the most part. Just throw zeros up as fast as you can, that's what I tried to do."
Cardinals: Holliday scratched late Tuesday
Matt Holliday was absent from thelineup Tuesday due to neck and upper-back stiffness.
Holliday told reporters through a team spokesperson that the stiffness began around the time he arrived at Angel Stadium and it prevented the left fielder from pregame work. His status for Wednesday is uncertain.
"He can't turn his head," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's ridiculously tough, so when he can't go out there and do something, it's not [minor]. He takes a lot of pride in days most guys wouldn't play, he plays. It's something he takes very seriously."
Allen Craig started at left field Tuesday in place of Holliday, moving Carlos Beltran from designated hitter to right, David Freese to DH and Daniel Descalso to third base.
Angels: Pujols hitless against old team
In his first game against his former team, Albert Pujols went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
Pujols, who was drafted by the Cardinals in 1999 and spent his first 11 big league seasons in St. Louis, isn't the only big-name player on the Angels' roster to have faced his former team for the first time this year. In the first week of the season, right fielder Josh Hamilton took the field against the Rangers, where he spent the past five seasons before signing with the Angels this winter.
"Fans and media and everybody never know the whole aspect or scale of what goes on, from the front office to the players, and then that translates to fans and stuff like that," Hamilton said. "But individually, as a player, it's your decision, your family's decision. This is a business, this is our job. You try to treat fans the best you can, but at the same time, you have a family to support. They're coming back to town, I'm sure he's excited about it, to see some old faces. But he's going to go out there and try to win, just like he would if it was another team."
• Cardinals long reliever Joe Kelly will be unavailable out of the bullpen Wednesday as he prepares to make his second start of the season Saturday.
• In his first night back after missing Sunday's game against the A's with food poisoning, Matt Adams was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
• The Angels wore special patches on their batting-practice jerseys Tuesday in honor of Cardinals icon Stan Musial, who died in January. Musial's grandson, Brian Schwarze, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Pujols.
• Los Angeles called up outfielder Collin Cowgill from Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday after Peter Bourjos was placed on the disabled list with a fractured right wrist.
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.