Astros look for series sweep of Cubs as sleeping offense wakes up

Even considering the injuries that have left gaping holes in their lineup, Houston Astros Has underperformed offensively in the first six weeks of this season, especially with regards to power

Astros entered their three-game interleague series with chicago cubs 27th in the majors in slugging percentage, a statistic that made breakouts against him cub Standout left-hander Justin Steele pulled off a minor surprise on Tuesday

After posting three extra-base hits in his series-opening win on Monday, Astros Recorded six doubles in Tuesday’s 7-3 win to clinch the series

Houston had four doubles off Steele in his four-run fourth inning, an outburst that had long been expected and one that showed Astros‘ Even with Jose Altuve (thumb) and Michael Brantley (shoulder) sidelined on the strength side

“The more you play, the more your timing gets there. And the more your confidence grows.” Astros said manager Dusty Baker. “The boys were attacking the ball because he (Steele) was attacking us.

Right-hander JP France (1-0, 0.77 ERA) will make his third career start Astros Sweep Wednesday. After allowing one run on three hits and one walk with three strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in a 5-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday, France became the fourth pitcher in club history to hit at least Worked five innings while allowing one. Run or no run in his first two career starts, including Dallas Keuchel, Carlos Hernandez and Manny Hernandez

Will make his first career appearance against France cub and his early interleague starts

Left-hander Drew Smiley (4-1, 3.05) is the scheduled starter. cub on Wednesday. He has allowed two or fewer runs in seven consecutive games through April 10. That stretch included a bid for a perfect game that extended into the eighth inning on April 21 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the longest ever. cub pitcher since José Guzmán on April 6, 1993 against Atlanta

Smiley made his ninth career appearance (sixth start). Astros in the series finale. He is 1-4 with a 5.86 ERA against them, including 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in four games (two starts) at Minute Maid Park. starts against each of their two most recent AstrosWith the Texas Rangers in 2019, Smiley allowed four earned runs.

Steele finished the season with the second-lowest ERA in the National League (1.82) and lowest ERA in the majors (1.47) since July 22, 2022. Astros tagged him for five earned runs in six innings, dropping his record to 6–1 and pushing his ERA to 2.44

A disease may have played a role in Steele’s surprisingly susceptible appearance.

“He stepped in there for us,” cub manager David Ross said. “He’s been dealing with some flu-like symptoms, and for him to go out and put in that performance, he did a really good job for us. That one innings, apart from that he was quite characteristic of himself.

– Field Level Media