The Houston Astros are in the playoffs, so here are our predictions for the Wild Card round.
You can argue whether they deserve to be in the playoffs, but the fact of the matter is the Houston Astros are in the postseason. They’ll be taking on the AL Central champion Minnesota Twins in a best-of-three Wild Card round beginning today. With this entire series being played on the road and the team having struggled in September, it’s hard to envision a happy ending here.
Today’s Wild Card round opener will begin at 1 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ABC. Tomorrow’s Game Two will begin at noon and will be shown on ESPN2. If there is a third game, it will be on Thursday, though the time and TV station are yet to be determined. These playoffs are certainly unusual, which is evidenced by the fact that Houston is even in the postseason at all.
The Astros finished at 29-31 on the season with a run differential of plus-four. Meanwhile the Twins went 36-24 with a plus-54 run differential. Houston actually scored 10 more runs than Minnesota did this year, but the Twins allowed 60 fewer runs. With all the injuries to the Astros pitching staff, that’s unsurprising.
The Twins finished eighth in the AL in OPS, ninth in batting average, third in homers, 13th in doubles, last in stolen bases and 10th in runs scored. The Astros finished ninth in OPS, 10th in batting average, 10th in homers, fourth in doubles, 10th in stolen bases and seventh in runs scored, and they had the fewest strikeouts of any lineup in the league.
On the pitching side, Minnesota finished third in the AL in ERA, second in WHIP, third in opponents’ batting average, fourth in strikeouts and had the fewest home runs allowed. Houston was seventh in ERA, eighth in WHIP, sixth in opponents’ batting average, sixth in strikeouts and was tied for the fourth-fewest home runs allowed.