As if the defending World Series champion Houston Astros already weren’t good enough, they have a top AL Rookie of the Year candidate in pitcher Hunter Brown, who is on the mound Wednesday as a sizable favorite on the MLB odds vs. the Twins.
Twins vs. Astros | 2023 MLB Expert Analysis
How to Bet Minnesota at Houston MLB Odds & TV Info
When: Wednesday, 8:10 PM ET
Where: Minute Maid Park
Probable pitchers (away/home): Louie Varland/Hunter Brown
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
Opening MLB Lines: Astros -195, Twins +175 (total 8)
Why Bet on Minnesota?
Max Kepler went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts on Monday in his return to the Twins’ lineup from injury. With slugging prospect Matt Wallner showing well in his latest stint in the majors recently, the clock might be ticking on Kepler, who will reach free agency at the conclusion of the regular season. The strong performance of Joey Gallo and arrival of Royce Lewis as a likely middle-of-the-order mainstay will push Kepler towards the bottom of the lineup until further notice.
Lewis, the former No. 1 overall pick in the draft, had a three-run homer and a game-tying single in the ninth Monday in his season debut. Lewis will get all of the playing time he can handle in the coming weeks, and if he does well, he’ll be penciled in as the Twins’ starting third baseman for the rest of the season. The Twins may be judicious with his rest early on as he returns from last year’s torn ACL.
It’s Louis Varland (2-1) on the mound Wednesday. Varland took the loss Friday, allowing three runs on seven hits over six innings against Toronto. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. The right-hander has made six big-league starts this season and given up more than three runs in only one of them. Homers remain Varland’s biggest issue — he’s served up nine in 34 innings, and his 4.24 ERA hides an ominous 5.43 FIP.
This season Varland has averaged 95.2 mph on his fastball, which is nearly a two mph jump from where he was a year ago. Varland is also allowing less contact, dropping down to 74.3% while having a good amount of success out of the strike zone. But owning a 6.4% barrel rate last year and now jumping up over 10%, he’s seen nearly one-quarter of the balls put in the air against him leave the yard.
Varland has never faced Houston but Jose Abreu is 0-for-2 off him from his White Sox days.
Bet Twins to Win Today
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Game
Why Bet on Houston?
Ryan Pressly took his first blown save since last July 30 when he gave up a run in the ninth Monday against the Twins. Pressly had converted his previous 22 save chances, or 28 if one counts the postseason last year, before a walk and two singles cost him. Jose Altuve hit his seventh career grand slam Monday against the Twins. Altuve had been 0-for-19 with the bases loaded since the beginning of last year. The slam came in the seventh inning off Brock Stewart. Altuve missed the first seven weeks of the campaign after fracturing his thumb in the World Baseball Classic, but he hasn’t missed a beat upon his return.
Yordan Alvarez has been at his best in the big moments in his career, especially this season. He’s batting .432 with RISP, .526 with RISP and two outs, .556 with the bases loaded, and .400 in close and late situations.
Reliever Hector Neris has not allowed a run in his last 16 appearances (14.1IP), which ranks as the longest scoreless appearance and innings streak in a single season in his career…the streak also ranks as the longest scoreless inning streak by an Astro this season and ranks as the second-longest active streak in the majors.
It’s rookie Hunter Brown (5-1) on the mound for Houston. Brown allowed two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out 10 over seven innings to earn the win over the Athletics on Friday. The 10 strikeouts were a season high for Brown, who also completed seven innings for the fourth time in 10 starts. The one downside was that he allowed his fourth home run in as many outings. Brown trimmed his ERA to 3.12 with a 1.20 WHIP and 66:18 K:BB through 57.2 innings.
Entering the day, Brown’s walk rate sat at 8.1 percent, a tick lower than league average (8.4). Since issuing a career-high five free passes against the Giants on May 2, Brown has allowed one walk or fewer in each of his last four starts.
“He was sharp with his fastball,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Real good curveball and a good slider. But it was set up by his fastball command. For young pitchers, the consistency is usually the problem, but he’s getting very consistent in his delivery and his mindset. You can tell he’s a very determined young man, and he threw a great game. So just build off of that, and then hopefully just keep going and keep going.”
Brown faced the Twins on April 9 and allowed only an unearned run and two hits over seven innings in a win. Brown got 14 missed swings and allowed just three hard-hit balls, none of them over 102 mph.
Bet Astros to Win Today
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Game
- Twins are 1-4 in their last 5 road games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Twins are 19-41 in their last 60 road games.
- Twins are 5-11 in their last 16 vs. American League West.
- Astros are 46-13 in their last 59 during game 3 of a series.
- Astros are 37-17 in their last 54 vs. American League Central.
- Twins are 6-13 in the last 19 meetings in Houston.
Astros 5, Twins 3
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