The American League Division Series between the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins continues on Tuesday afternoon. The defending World Series champion Astros are tied up 1-1 as the Twins bounced back in Game 2 with a 6-2 victory.
As we’ve seen in recent years, the higher seed can be in danger in these short playoff series. Last season, both the Dodgers and Braves were dispatched in the LDS round. For Houston to win their fifth straight AL playoff series, they will need to get timely hits and solid starting pitching.
- Game 1: Astros 6, Twins 4
- Game 2: Twins 6, Astros 2
- Game 3: Astros at Twins, Oct. 10, 4:07 PM ET on FOX
- Game 4: Astros at Twins, Oct. 11, 2:07 PM ET on FS1
- Game 5*: Twins at Astros, Oct. 13, on FOX/FS1
The Twins won the regular season series against the Astros, 4 games to 2.
BetMGM Series Winner Odds: Astros -115 | Twins -105
Minnesota Twins Overview
No team in the AL hit more home runs than the Twins, who are led by Max Kepler, Michael A. Taylor, and Joey Gallo. Don’t forget about Royce Lewis, the exciting rookie who hit two home runs in the Wild Card round. The Twins can get power from many sources: a record 12 batters had at least 10 HR in 2023.
Many might not realize the Twins ranked second in the AL in K-to-BB ratio, which is usually the best way to measure the overall effectiveness of a staff. The Twins’ starting rotation is led by Sonny Gray and Pablo López, but also has depth with Bailey Ober and Kenta Maeda.
If we’ve learned anything in recent years, it’s that a hot bullpen can lift a team in the postseason. In the last playoff round, the Twins pen allowed zero runs in 8 1/3 innings. That group must be confident as they head into this series, and they will need that confidence to face the loaded Astro lineup.
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Houston Astros Overview
Few teams can match Houston’s impact bats in the form of Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, Yainer Diaz, and Chas McCormick. The lineup has the best balance of any team in the postseason, and that includes Atlanta.
The Astros can hit, hit for power, run the bases, steal a bag, and draw a walk. They have multiple power threats who can hit the baseball to all fields. That’s why they are such a tough opponent in October.
Yes, that’s Justin Verlander back in the orange and yellow of the Astros. The 40-year-old started Game 1 of a postseason series for the 13th time on Saturday and didn’t give up a run through six innings. He may be greying at the temples, but Verlander is still fantastic, supplying power and finesse. And no pitcher outcompetes him.
Dusty Baker has an embarrassment of riches with Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier at his disposal.
Closer Ryan Pressly, Bryan Abreu, and Hector Neris are as good a top three as any bullpen in the playoffs. The only weakness is the pen’s penchant for surrendering home runs.
Other MLB Divisional Series Previews
- ALDS: Rangers vs Orioles Prediction
- NLDS: Dodgers vs Diamondbacks Prediction
- NLDS: Braves vs Phillies Prediction
Pitching Matchup for Game 3
Cristian Javier (10-5, 4.56 ERA) vs Sonny Gray (8-8, 2.79 ERA)
Javier has had mixed results down the stretch. In August, despite a 2-0 record, he was tagged for 17 runs in four outings. He’s only made it through six innings twice in his last 10 starts.
While he improved his strikeout count in September with 6+ K’s in four outings (didn’t have one in August), he’ll likely have a quick hook if the Twins tag him early.
Gray gave up five hits in his Wild Card pitching start but didn’t give up a run through five innings. He’s collected an even record, and also went 4-4 over his last 10 starts in August and September. In that span, he’s frequently passed six innings of work and has only given up three or more runs in two of those outings.
Twins vs Astros Predictions
The Astros somehow posted a losing record at home (39-42), as opposed to 51-30 on the road. That’s bizarre and hard to explain. But it’s likely just an anomaly and home-field advantage will work in Houston’s favor. We like Houston to win Game 1, and the series in four.