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Two of the hottest teams in baseball are set to square off for the first of three games on Tuesday. Houston has won seven games in a row and 11 of its past 13, while Minnesota has won 14 of its past 17 games. Minnesota has won its past nine games at home, but Houston has maybe the best pitcher in the American League going in Justin Verlander. It should be a tight one, but it’s hard to bet against the first ballot hall-of-famer. We like the Astros money line.
Houston Astros Moneyline (-145)
Garcia’s 2021 record: (11-6)
Joe Ryan has pitched in just 10 big league games, yet he’s been throwing the ball like a seasoned veteran to start the season for the Twins. Ryan, 25, is 3-1 this season and paces Minnesota’s rotation with a 1.1 WAR.
On the year he’s 3-1 with a 1.63 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and has 28 strikeouts in 27.2 innings. Ryan has yet to give up more than two runs in any outing and over his past three starts has surrendered just nine hits and three walks with 17 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.
For Houston, Justin Verlander has been every bit as dominant if not more so. The 39-year-old future Hall-of-Famer has a 1.0 WAR through five outings, going 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA, league-best 0.70 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts in 32.2 innings.
Verlander has four consecutive quality starts and the lone time he didn’t record one was his season debut when he was on a pitch count, but still only gave up one run in five innings.
Houston may have won its past seven games, but the offense isn’t the reason why. The Astros are in the middle of the pack (18th out of 30) in terms of total runs scored this season.
Houston has scored more than five runs just twice in its past 14 games and has been held to three runs or fewer in eight of those games, yet has still managed an 11-3 record over those two weeks.
While the offense as a whole isn’t hot, Jose Altuve has been, going 9-for-22 (.409) the past week with three home runs and five walkouts compared to three punchouts.
On the flipside, the Twins’ offense has been red hot. Minnesota is fifth in the American League in total runs scored. They’ve scored five or more runs in eight of their past 15 games, though that has slowed down as of late, scoring four runs or fewer in each of their last five.
Still, there have been bright spots despite the offense’s recent slump, like Byron Buxton. The sensational outfielder is 5-for-19 in that stretch but leads the team during that time with a double, two home runs and five RBIs while posting a .965 OPS.
As far as x-factors, we’re going to try and key in on a few names you might not think of as game-changers, but those who could come up with some big hits. For Minnesota, that’s going to be Gilberto Celestino. The outfielder is 12-for-37 this year (.324) and comes off a week where he went 6-for-14 with two doubles.
For Houston, it’s a bunch of household names, but we’re going to single out Aldemys Diaz. Diaz is hitting just .210 on the year but went 3-for-8 last week with a home run and four RBIs
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|Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins Information|
|Teams||Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins|
|Location||Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Time||Tuesday, May 10, 7:40 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||AT&T SportsNet Southwest, MLB Extra Innings|
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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