Major League Baseball

Hurting Astros hope to get healthy vs. Cubs

mlb5CUBS (30-22) AT ASTROS (36-19)
8:10 p.m. ET; ATTSN-SW, ABC7, MLB.TV

There is no replacing the value provided by a collection of All-Stars assigned to reinforce the offense, but the immediate future for Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch entails that very challenge.

With second baseman Jose Altuve and outfielder George Springer on the 10-day injured list with hamstring strains and shortstop Carlos Correa given the day off, Houston managed to beat the visiting Chicago Cubs on Monday in the opener of a three-game interleague series.

They did so with a piecemeal lineup featuring two players recalled from Triple-A Round Rock over the weekend — outfielder Derek Fisher and second baseman Jack Mayfield, who made his big-league debut and went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Fisher was 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI.

Catcher Garrett Stubbs, recalled to replace the injured Max Stassi (knee) on Sunday, will make his major league debut Tuesday when Houston hosts Chicago in the second game of the series.

“It’s hard to replace Altuve and Springer and (Aledmys) Diaz (also on the IL with a hamstring strain),” Hinch said. “I love all of our guys. Whoever is going to play is going to have a ton of energy, but I know our guys are happy for Jack Mayfield making his debut. They’ll be pretty pumped up for Garrett Stubbs.

“We have a close-knit group that extends beyond the 25 guys that are here. But I do miss Jose, I do miss George, I do miss Aledmys.”

Rookie right-hander Corbin Martin (1-1, 4.97 ERA) will start Tuesday for the Astros. He suffered his first loss on May 23 after allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and one walk with three strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings in a 4-0 setback to the Chicago White Sox.

Tuesday will mark the fourth career start and third at Minute Maid Park for the Houston native, who recorded nine strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in his big-league debut on May 12 while beating the Texas Rangers.

Veteran left-hander Jon Lester (3-3, 2.68 ERA) will oppose Martin. Lester has compiled a 9.72 ERA over his last two starts and has allowed more earned runs in that span (nine) than he did over his opening seven starts of this season (five).

Lester has made just two career starts against the Astros, going 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in those appearances. Both were at Minute Maid Park, with the first on June 28, 2008, when he was with the Boston Red Sox.

Like his counterpart with the Astros, Cubs manager Joe Maddon has been forced to juggle his lineup on the fly. Outfielders Jason Heyward and Kris Bryant collided in the outfield Sunday at Wrigley Field in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds, and both were unavailable Monday for the Cubs’ 6-5 loss to the Astros. The evaluation process is ongoing, leaving Maddon in the position to play things by ear until the Cubs can decide who can and can’t participate in this series.

“I haven’t even written (Tuesday’s) lineup like I normally do,” Maddon said prior to Monday’s game. “I had three days written before we left and then that was squandered (Sunday). I’m pretty much going one day at a time right now.”

–Field Level Media

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