Today at 3:10 PM CDT, the Houston Astros will open a three-day set against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, MN.
Houston is now 3-4 on the season. After dropping the season opener and eventually splitting their four-game home set against the Chicago White Sox, they lost the first two games of their three-game series against the presumed AL Central bottom-dwelling Detroit Tigers.
In the series finale against the Tigers at Minute Maid Park, Houston went deep three times behind a quality start from Cristian Javier to take an 8-2 victory. Javier struck out five over six innings, allowing one run on five hits and zero walks. Bryan Abreu pitched a scoreless seventh, Rafael Montero allowed a run in the eighth, and Ryan Pressly tossed a flawless ninth in a non-save situation. Chas McCormick (1), Jeremy Peña (1), and Kyle Tucker (3) each contributed a home run.
The Minnesota Twins opened the season by sweeping the Kansas City Royals on the road, including a pair of 2-0 shutouts. They started their three-game series in Miami with a win over the Marlins before dropping the final two.
New Twin and ex-Marlin Pablo López was sharp in the series finale, striking out eight over seven innings while allowing only one run on three hits and a walk. Miami pitching held the Twins to six hits, allowing no player multiple hits and only one extra-base hit, a double by backstop Ryan Jeffers.
The last time these two met was a three-game set last season from August 23 through 25. Houston won all three behind excellent efforts from starters Justin Verlander (6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K), Framber Valdez (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 K), and Luis Garcia (5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). In the finale, Will Smith, Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Rafael Montero tossed a scoreless inning each, while Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, and Christian Vázquez each collected multiple hits.
All Time Head-to-Head
Houston is 42-35 in all-time regular-season meetings against the Twins, a .545 winning percentage. They also went 2-0 against Minnesota in the 2020 Wild Card series.
The “on-pace-for” portion of the standings gets a little hinky early in the season. I don’t think the Twins are going to eclipse 100 wins.
Houston Astros: 3-4, .429, third in the AL West, 1.5 GB, 1.5 WCGB, 10th in the AL, tied for 17th in MLB, on pace for 69-93, 72.2 percent odds of postseason play.
Minnesota Twins: 4-2, .667, second in the AL Central, 0.5 GB, leading the WC race, tied for third in the AL, tied for fifth in MLB, on pace for 108-54, 57.6 percent odds of postseason play.
Average — Yordan Alvarez .348, José Abreu .345, Kyle Tucker .333
HR — Kyle Tucker 3, Yordan Alvarez 2, Chas McCormick & Jeremy Peña 1
RBI — Yordan Alvarez 10, Kyle Tucker 8, Jeremy Peña 4
SB — Chas McCormick 3, three tied at one
BB — Kyle Tucker 6, four tied at three
Michael Brantley (shoulder)
Jose Altuve (thumb)
Parker Mushinski (lumbar spine muscle spasm)
Lance McCullers Jr. (right arm muscle strain)
Blake Taylor (left elbow strain)
Today 3:10 PM CDT — José Urquidy (0-0, 6.75) vs. Sonny Gray (1-0, 0.00)
Saturday 1:10 CDT — Luis Garcia (0-1, 5.40) vs. Joe Ryan (1-0, 1.50)
Sunday 1:10 CDT — Hunter Brown (0-0, 7.71) vs. Tyler Mahle (1-0, 1.80)
This is unknown at this time, but here’s what I would do:
Heroes and Zeroes
Houston’s top and bottom five WPA’s from last series
Kyle Tucker (.275)
Jose Abreu (.264)
Cristian Javier (.197)
Alex Bregman (.141)
Jake Meyers (.081)
Hunter Brown (-.148)
Ryne Stanek (-.166)
Martín Maldonado (-.189)
Mauricio Dubón (-.260)
Jeremy Peña (-.325)
Before joining the Astros in mid-2018, Ryan Pressly spent his first five-and-a-half seasons as part of the Twins bullpen. In 317 innings, he was 17-16 with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.303 WHIP. For context, he has a 0.934 WHIP since joining Houston.
Twins starting catcher Christian Vázquez spent the last part of the 2022 season backstopping the Astros, hitting .250 in 35 games while providing adequate defense behind the plate. He went four-for-17 during Houston’s postseason charge to their second World Series Championship.
Twins starting shortstop Carlos Correa was a two-time All Star over his seven seasons with the Houston Astros. In 752 games, he hit .277/.356/.481 with 133 dingers and 489 RBI.
Franchise leaderboard check
Alex Bregman will pass Richard Hidalgo into 25th on the franchise leaderboard with his first appearance, his 814th.
Kyle Tucker will move into the franchise top 50 with two runs, which would tie him with Josh Reddick at 216. Yordan Alvarez needs five runs to tie Adam Everett in 42nd with 257. Alex Bregman needs two to tie Doug Rader in 14th.
Kyle Tucker’s next double will move him into a tie with Tony Eusebio at 87 in 46th. Yordan Alvarez needs a pair of two baggers to reach a tie with Moises Alou in 41st with 93.
Martin Maldonado needs two homers to tie Enos Cabell and John Bateman in 48th with his 45th. Kyle Tucker needs two to tie Marwin Gonzalez in 26th with 79.
Kyle Tucker needs one RBI to pass Art Howe into 40th. Alex Bregman is 10 short of 500 RBI.
Yordan Alvarez will pass Chris Carter into 42nd on the leaderboard with his next walk, number 184.
Luis Garcia will tie Chad Qualls in 49th with a win, his 27th career victory.
Ryan Pressly’s next save will give him 77, moving him past Fred Gladding into sole possession of fourth on the leaderboard.