Oct. 9 – MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins will try to stay perfect at home in the postseason when they host the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Tuesday afternoon.
The teams are 1-1 in the best-of-five series after winning one game each in Houston. The Astros won the series opener 6-4 on Saturday and lost Game 2 6-2 on Sunday. Yordan Alvarez hit three homers in those two games for Houston.
Now the series will move north, with temperatures expected to reach the 50s for the first game.
The Twins won two home games in the playoffs and eliminated the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card Series. They ended an 18-game playoff losing streak and won their first playoff series since 2004.
Shortstop Carlos Correa has played a big role in the Twins’ newfound postseason success. He hit .533 (8-for-15) with three doubles and four RBIs in four postseason games in 2023.
The 29-year-old spent his first seven seasons with the Astros. He admitted it felt good to beat his former team in the stadium he once called home.
“I would be lying if I said no,” Correa said. “It’s cool when you play your previous team. But at the same time, our ultimate goal is to win the series. I’m focused on bringing a championship to Minnesota and that’s what everyone in our club is working toward.
“We have to win two more games in this series. It’s going to be a good game. We have a great team on the other side. I know what happens when they lose a game. I always On the other side, I know the speeches, the meetings, everything that goes on. They’ll be ready for the next game. And so will we.”
Astros right-hander Christian Javier will try to undermine the Twins’ optimism. Javier made 31 starts this season, going 10-5 with a 4.56 ERA and striking out 159 batters in 162 innings.
Javier is no stranger to the playoffs. He went 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 14 games (two starts) and allowed six scoreless innings in last season’s World Series, a win over Philadelphia Phillies.
In one career game against Minnesota, Javier is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA.
“I heard there’s a lot of expectations for my next outing, but I’m just going to do what I do every time, which is go out and compete,” Javier said.
The Twins will counter with right-hander Sonny Gray, who will make his second start of the postseason. Gray went five scoreless innings in the wild-card series, beating the Blue Jays. He went 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA in 184 innings in 32 starts during the regular season.
In five career postseason starts, Gray is 1-2 with a 2.39 ERA. He struck out 24 in 26 1/3 innings.
Gray, 33, has started 12 career games against the Astros and is 4-4 with a 3.03 ERA.
Twins head coach Rocco Baldelli said his players, led by Correa, will be focused in Game 3.
“We hear all the theories all the time,” Baldelli said. “When the lights come on, bright lights, there are some guys, they’re giants in the lights. He’s one of them. That’s who he is.”
—Tom Musick, Field Level Media
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