Since meeting in the 2020 postseason, the Houston Astros (3-4) and Minnesota Twins (4-2) paths have taken different trajectories.
Houston lost in the ALCS in 2020 and followed that up with AL pennants in 2021 and 2022. The defending champions have proven themselves to be the preeminent MLB franchise of this era in baseball history. Yet, they’re battling injuries right now, and a 3-4 start is a bit disappointing considering the two teams they faced at home to begin the season.
Minnesota hasn’t returned to the postseason or had a winning record in the two seasons since Houston swept them. Last year, the Twins had a brutal second half which ruined their chances of winning the AL Central, even though they led the division for most of the season. They won their first four this year, but two straight losses and some lifeless offensive performances should concern them a bit.
Carlos Correa gets to host his former team, as the Twins are finally home in 2023. Let’s see how Astros vs. Twins will unfold this afternoon.
Fixture: Houston Astros @ Minnesota Twins
Date and Time: Friday, April 7, 2023, 4:10 p.m. EST
Venue: Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Astros vs. Twins: Betting Odds
|Team||Run Line||Total||Money Line|
|Astros||+1.5 (-195)||Over 7.5 (-110)||+110|
|Twins||-1.5 (+165)||Under 7.5 (-110)||-130|
Astros vs. Twins: Starting Pitchers
Houston’s starter today is Jose Urquidy, and he’ll look to perform better than he did in his first outing of 2023. His first start saw him give up two homers in 4.0 innings as Chicago parlayed seven hits and a walk into three runs in that short time. Urquidy only tossed 3.0 innings against Minnesota last season, allowing three hits and one run.
Countering him for the home team is Sonny Gray, in his 11th big league season. Gray picked up the win in his first start, lasting 5.0 innings without allowing any runs. He didn’t face Houston in 2022, but in 10 career starts, Sonny Gray owns a 3.08 ERA against the Astros.
The Astros’ offense still knows how to get on base, with the fifth-most walks and 10th-highest OBP in baseball. They’re ninth in runs early on despite ranking only 23rd in slugging percentage, a number that will surely increase. Their pitching, which was the best in the AL last season, is also off to a slow start, allowing the most hits among all 30 teams. Their K/BB rate is third in the league behind the Yankees and Dodgers.
Minnesota’s pitching has been the best in the league through six games, leading baseball in ERA, runs allowed, and hits allowed. They’re also top-five in home runs allowed and walks allowed. The offense isn’t quite as productive right now, ranking 20th or lower in runs, hits, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Joey Gallo has three home runs, which is great, but the team only has six collectively. Byron Buxton has a .909 OPS and will hopefully stay healthy so that he can maintain it.
Astros vs. Twins: Betting Prediction
Outside of two games, the Twins’ offense has been curiously cold early on despite a few players hitting very well. They’ve scored fewer than three runs in four of their six games entering this one. Maybe their home debut will give the bats a jolt, but it’s not looking good against a Houston pitching staff that’s supposed to be one of the best in baseball. The Astros’ offense has managed to produce without relying heavily on the long ball, and their pitching has been commanding the strike zone, even if hits are falling. I think Houston is in better shape and will narrowly take this one.