The Minnesota Twins broke their winless streak in the MLB Postseason in the 2023 AL Wild Card round and knocked out the Blue Jays in a somewhat commanding fashion. Now, the Twins are set to face the defending World Series champion Astros in the ALDS, a team that Minnesota beat four out of six times in the regular season. Here’s our preview of the upcoming clash between the Twins and Astros.
Probable Starters and Start Times
- Game 1: TBA vs. Justin Verlander (10/7 at 4:45 PM ET)
- Game 2: TBA vs. Framber Valdez (10/8 at 8:03 PM ET)
- Game 3: TBA vs. TBA (10/10 at 4:07 PM ET)
- Game 4: TBA vs. TBA (TBD Time)
- Game 5: TBA vs. TBA (TBD Time)
- Twins: +135
- Astros: -160
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. As of October 5, 2023.
A Look at the Offenses
The star of the Wild Card round turned out to be Royce Lewis, who’s had his moments this season despite a series of stints on the IL. Lewis belted two home runs and drove in all three runs for the Twins in Game 1.
What was also promising for the Twins was that Carlos Correa, who will face the team that drafted him in the ALDS, played a big role. Correa went 3-7 (.429) and drove in a run in Game 2, which proved to be the game-winning run for Minnesota.
The Astros, meanwhile, will look to carry over their momentum from the regular season into the playoffs. Houston finished fifth in the Majors in total runs scored, and several of the Astros offense had themselves terrific second halves.
Fellow outfielder Yordan Alvarez proved to be a force yet again for the Astros throughout the summer. Alvarez’s 1.002 OPS over the final two months was eighth-best in the league (min. 200 PA).
A Look at the Pitching
The Twins rotation proved to be a major plus in the regular season and that remained the case in the Wild Card round. Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray both pitched excellent, and the Minnesota bullpen held the Jays to just one earned run over the two games.
Now, things will likely get interesting for the Twins. Joe Ryan would have started a potential Game 3, which would make the righty a prime candidate to start the first contest of the ALDS. Ryan boasts a tough-to-pick-up fastball when commanded up, as well as a pair of breaking balls and splitter. But, command — and health, to add insult to injury — truly eluded him in the second half. The 27-year-old gave up 16 home runs in 54.1 IP after the All-Star break, the same amount of home runs he yielded in 107 innings during the first half.
That total was tied for fifth-most in the MLB during the second half.
As for the Astros, we know that Houston will throw out Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez in the first two games. Verlander was productive in his return to Houston this past summer, while Valdez posted an uneven second half. The left-hander posted a 4.66 ERA over 87 innings after the All-Star break and began to rely more on the cutter and curve and less on the sinker.
It’ll be interesting, though, to see how Dusty Baker and the Astros manage things past Game 2. Obviously, Houston needs to worry about the two first games of the ALDS first. But looking forward, will the Astros send out Cristian Javier for Game 3? Javier threw 11.1 scoreless frames in the ALDS and World Series last year, but a 5.00 ERA over the final two months is a concern heading into the postseason.
This matchup features two high-powered offenses that can strike at any time. The Astros have done this before but we think an upset is in order.
Ultimately, we believe that the Twins’ pitching will get Minnesota in the ALCS.