Minnesota Twins: Previewing the Houston Astros Series
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins welcome the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros to town this week. It will be a good early season test for the Twins.
The Minnesota Twins will hope to have finished their battle with good ole Mother Nature as the Houston Astros come to town. It still may not completely feel like baseball weather but that will be the least of the Twins worries. The Astros will be.
Last season welcoming the Astros to Target Field was…well…unwelcoming for the home team. The Astros were able to sweep the three-game series from the Twins and somewhat left the home team running with their tail between their legs.
What the Twins would like to most forget from that series was the 16-8 loss in the first game of the series on May 29th. Going into the 8th inning the Twins were up 8-2. Until the Astros rallied off 11 runs against the Twins relief trio of Ryan Pressly, Craig Breslow, and Matt Belisle. The Astros scored three more runs in the 9th to win the game 16-8.
The Twins hope for a different outcome in this home series, but beating the defending World Series champions will be no easy task. Here are the probable pitching matchups for the series.
Monday, April 9: HOU Justin Verlander vs MIN Lance Lynn
Tuesday, April 10: HOU Dallas Keuchel vs MIN Jake Odorizzi
Wednesday, April 11: HOU Lance McCullers vs MIN Kyle Gibson
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The Twins do land matchups with the three Astros starters who have been the least effective to this point in 2018, but that really isn’t saying much. The Astros have one of the best rotations, top to bottom, in the major leagues.
Chance for LoMo to get on track
The Astros trio brings encouragement to one Twins bat that has sputtered out of the gates, Logan Morrison. Small sample size could always come into play when looking at head-to-head matchups, but Morrison has batted over .300 against all three Astros starters. Morrison who has only one hit in his 19 at-bats to begin 2018 would love to get going in this series.
The Twins aren’t going to get very many breaks against the Astros staff and will need to simply hit some quality pitching in this series if they are to win.
The Twins pitching will also be certainly tested in this series. As Twins fans have been impressed with the Twins lineup spots one through nine, the Astros lineup is equally if not more impressive. With Jose Altuve, Brian McCann, Carlos Correa, and Josh Reddick all off to good starts, the Twins will find out just how good their revamped pitching staff is at this point in the season.
Next: Ervin Santana behind schedule
It will be an early and important test for the Twins this week as they take on the Houston Astros. It will certainly not make or break the Twins season but has a chance to put a lot of life into the team’s sails.