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Apr 24, 2024 7:55 am

Misfiring Astros look to reverse course vs. Cubs

Houston Astros

The Houston Astros are 10 games under .500 for the first time since May 2016, but manager Joe Espada is refusing to push the panic button.

The Astros will look to end a three-game losing streak when they continue a three-game series against the host Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.

Alex Bregman is 1-for-21 in his last six games for Houston. First baseman Jose Abreu is batting .065 after going 0-for-3 in the Astros’ 7-2 setback on Tuesday.

“I want the guys to understand that this will pass,” Espada said. “But we need to make adjustments, we need to do things different. Our at-bats need to change. How we approach certain parts of the game, we need to make some adjustments.”

Chicago benefited from a five-run first inning on Tuesday. Mike Tauchman hit two home runs and drove in four runs for the Cubs, who have won seven of their last 10 games.

Cody Bellinger added a two-run homer before leaving Tuesday’s game with a right rib contusion. X-rays after the game were negative.

Bellinger, who ran into the center-field wall on a ball hit by Yainer Diaz in the fourth inning, downplayed the injury after the game.

“Honestly, I didn’t feel much at first,” Bellinger said. “And then as the innings went on, I started to get a little more uncomfortable. It was nothing serious. It’s dull. It’s a very dull pain, even now, which is a good sign.”

Bellinger is 10-for-30 during an eight-game hitting streak for Chicago, which placed pitchers Kyle Hendricks (lower-back strain) and Drew Smyly (right hip impingement) on the injured list before Tuesday’s contest.

Chicago will send right-hander Jameson Taillon (1-0, 1.80 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday. The 32-year-old made his season debut last Friday after missing the beginning of the campaign due to a back strain. He allowed one run on three hits over five innings in an 8-3 win vs. the Miami Marlins.

“I thought he was a true pro like he always is,” Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson said. “He was able to command the strike zone (with) multiple pitches. It’s good to see him get off to such a good start.”

Jose Altuve is 4-for-11 against Taillon, who is 0-1 with a 5.18 ERA in four career starts vs. Houston.

The Astros will counter with right-hander Spencer Arrighetti (0-2, 11.57 ERA), who made his second career start on April 15. The 24-year-old allowed two runs over four innings against the Atlanta Braves.

Arrighetti has pitched in parts of four minor league seasons with the Astros, going 19-15 with a 4.37 ERA in 63 games (42 starts).

Kyle Tucker is 8-for-21 with one homer, four RBIs and four runs in his last six games for Houston.

Espada spent time meeting individually with players earlier this week and said the Astros’ cohesiveness remains intact.

“This is a family,” Espada said. “This team has been together for a very long time. We all know how to turn things around. So, really good conversations the last couple days.”

–Field Level Media

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