The Twins are on the ropes against the defending champions. With the Astros just one win away from their seventh consecutive ALCS appearance, can Minnesota stand in Houston’s way and extend this series? The Twins are slight favorites at -125 on the moneyline.
Let’s make predictions for Wednesday’s Game 4 and break down why the Astros can advance.
Astros vs. Twins Prediction
Yordan Alvarez has four home runs in this ALDS. Jose Abreu hit two home runs in Game 3. Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve also have home runs. Kyle Tucker and Yainer Diaz both had more than 20 home runs in the regular season. Pitching might be a question for the Astros on Wednesday, but their power is very real, and it’s probably going to show up against a pitcher who struggled with the home run ball all season.
That was Joe Ryan’s biggest problem in 2023, allowing 32 homers in 161.2 IP, and he seems to be facing the wrong lineup at the wrong time.
It’s a bit surprising to see an Astros team with such experience in these moments as an underdog in what could be a close-out game. While pitching plans are uncertain (Jose Urquidy starts, but will J.P. France be close behind?), Urquidy finished the regular season by allowing just two hits over his last nine innings. He should also have a cushion to work with if the offense lives up to its billing.
As long as the Astros moneyline has this kind of value they’re the better bet. Over 8 runs might be worth a look as well.
Astros vs. Twins Prediction: Astros Moneyline (+110)
Astros vs. Twins Odds
The Twins are home favorites at -125 on the moneyline. The over/under is 8 runs.
It’s an interesting line, as Astros pitching uncertainty is clearly a factor, but Houston’s power seems to be overlooked. The Twins don’t have Pablo Lopez or any ace on the mound. Instead, it’s a pitcher who might have trouble with the Astros’ biggest strength.
Astros vs. Twins Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Astros vs. Twins Game 4.
Astros’ Power vs. Joe Ryan
Joe Ryan looked more like a Game 1 or Game 2 starter at the start of the season, when he was going deep into games and cruising through opposing lineups. For much of the season’s final handful of months, however, he couldn’t get past trouble with the home run ball.
Ryan allowed 32 home runs in 161.2 IP, a rate of nearly two per nine innings, and that could certainly be an issue against a powerful Astros lineup. Houston was 7th in baseball in home runs per game this season, even with both Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve missing serious time. Alvarez has been mashing in the postseason, while power bats like Kyle Tucker and Alex Bregman are still trying to get going.
The Astros are built to pounce on pitchers like this, and Rocco Baldelli will have to be careful about not pushing Ryan too far on Wednesday.
Carlos Correa vs. Astros Pitching
The Astros let Carlos Correa get hot. Technically, the Blue Jays did first, but Correa seemed to feed off of boos in Houston and was 5-9 over the first two games of the series. After a totally disappointing regular season, the Twins finally have the Correa they thought they would have when they re-signed him in January. That should scare the Astros.
Houston isn’t expected to have Justin Verlander on the mound for Game 4, so Correa and the Twins are set to see a bevy of pitchers. Whether that means Jose Urquidy, J.P. France, or the rest of the bullpen, the Astros’ biggest impediment to another title run was always a lack of rotation depth. If Correa keeps riding this wave, he could be able to take advantage of Houston’s weaker arms.
Astros vs. Twins Starting Lineups
Astros Starting Lineup
2B Jose Altuve R
3B Alex Bregman R
DH Yordan Alvarez L
RF Kyle Tucker L
1B Jose Abreu R
LF Michael Brantley L
LF Chas McCormick R
SS Jeremy Pena R
C Martin Maldonado R
Twins Starting Lineup
2B Edouard Julien L
3B Jorge Polanco S
DH Royce Lewis R
RF Max Kepler L
DH Alex Kirilloff L
SS Carlos Correa R
LF Matt Wallner L
C Ryan Jeffers R
CF Michael Taylor R