The Minnesota Twins come back home tied at one game each with the Houston Astros in the AL Division Series.
Following their dominating victory against the Blue Jays in the Wild Card round, the Twins traveled to Houston for Game 1 of their Division Series. Bailey Ober started for Minnesota and allowed three runs over three innings pitched before Kenta Maeda replaced him, allowing two more runs over two innings pitched by him, and Justin Verlander went six innings without giving up one – yet still managed a comeback when two back-to-back home runs scored four but it wasn’t enough as they lost 6-4.
Pablo Lopez shined brightest in Game Two, giving up six hits while striking out seven batters over seven innings pitched by Framber Valdez for five runs in just 4.1 innings pitched by him. Though Brock Stewart managed two runs back for the Astros, this would not be enough – the Twins took home a 6-2 victory to even out their series score at one win each.
The series has shifted to Minnesota tied as it is now a best of three series.
Stellar pitching was the hallmark of the Twins season, ranking sixth in team ERA while placing fourth in WHIP and sixth in opponent batting average, all while ranking first in quality starts. Sonny Gray will take to the mound in this match-up against the Astros; his 2.79 ERA placed 15th among all majors. Gray finished strong – in five starts since giving up three earned runs on September 5, Gray has given up only four total runs; eight of his last ten outings saw one or fewer earned runs than his predecessor – an impressive feat considering it has come against some powerful competition in his other start!
Carlos Correa has been instrumental in the Twins playoff run thus far, hitting 533 with an on-base percentage of.588 and collecting four RBIs while hitting three doubles that have led to four more RBIs. Meanwhile, Royce Lewis is scoring an incredible amount of runs, five so far in these playoffs alone, while hitting just.267 but managing an on-base percentage of.389.
Donovan Solano will be an essential player to watch out for during this matchup, having hit 389 with two doubles against the Astros during regular season play and driving in five runs against them. Additionally, Ryan Jeffers had great success against them this year, hitting.455 with an on-base percentage of.539. Further, he hit one home run and two doubles, accounting for four RBIs overall as the Twins scored 29 runs across six matches against them, an average of nearly five runs per game scored across six contests!
Christian Javier will start for the Astros in this one and had an overall record of 10-5 with a 4.56 ERA this season. Javier finished on an impressive note against the Diamondbacks; giving up only three hits and striking out four over six innings while recording a win. Unfortunately for Javier though, September did not go well – giving up three or more runs in four of five starts and going 0-3 along the way.
So far in the playoffs, Yordan Alvarez has led the offense for the Astros with two games complete and has posted an average on-base percentage of.500, hitting three homers while driving in five runs and scoring four times himself. Meanwhile, Alex Bregman scored three times with an on-base percentage rate of.375, though not hitting for extra bases or driving in any runs; yet his three runs helped pace their offense just like during regular season play when hitting at a.360 on-base percentage while hitting three homers while scoring four times himself! Against Minnesota Twins, Bregman had hit well; during regular season games, he hit at 304 with 360 on-base percentage while driving in three runs with homers alone!
Chas McCormick should also be kept an eye on in this game. Although he hit just 200 against the Twins this season, he still drove in runs with six RBIs (two homers included). Overall, however, the Astros hit just 212 against them this year, scoring 25 runs over six games against their excellent pitching staff, something which shouldn’t come as a shock; they need someone to produce runs in this contest to secure victory!
The Twins have the pitching edge and home-field advantage in this one. I look for the Twins to take control of this series and go up two games to one.
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