Wild Card Round Prediction
The Astros managed to back into the playoffs, but they didn’t exactly look convincing in doing so as they struggled against the Mariners and Rangers. The Twins overtook the slumping White Sox to win the division crown and didn’t necessarily set the world on fire, but they were playing much better than Houston did.
In such a short series, the first game will be key. The Twins have an advantage in that their ace has been pitching better and is better at home, and in fact that goes for both teams. Minnesota was 24-7 at home this year while Houston was 9-23 on the road. The games will be played outdoors and the weather will be much cooler than what the Astros are used to.
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But beyond all that, the biggest factor in determining the outcome of this Wild Card series is whether the Astros offense shows up. It went missing for most of the month of September and the team’s results suffered. If the bats come to play, the team has a chance of winning this series. If they don’t, it’ll be quick exit.
Unfortunately I haven’t seen enough to convince me that the offense will be able to score enough against this solid Twins pitching staff. As I mentioned earlier, their ceiling is incredibly high, but they show no signs of reaching it on a consistent basis. Couple that with the lack of bullpen depth and I don’t see the Astros advancing in the playoffs.
I’ll give the Astros one game, as the offense might break out once or they may get an excellent pitching performance. But this team hasn’t given me any confidence that they’ll be able to reverse their fortunes against a really good team on the road. GM James Click’s first offseason with the club will begin later this week. PREDICTION: Twins in 3