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Carlos Correa and The Twins Face The Astros In The ALDS, With A Chance To Dethrone The Champs

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The ALDS series that will feature the Minnesota Twins against the Houston Astros should be marketed as the postseason homecoming for former Astros prospect and World Series hero, Carlos Correa. The Astros #1 overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft, did play a regular season game in Houston with his new club back in August of 2022 and a three game series this past May.

The Twins signed Correa to a free agent contract in the fall of 2021 and after a season in which he hit .291, with 24 doubles, a triple, 22 home runs and drove in 64 runs, the Puerto Rico native decided to test the free agent waters again, but we all know how that turned out. He was pursued by the San Francisco Giants and potentially agreed to a multi-year contract, only to have that voided after physical tests pinpointed on past issues with his ankle. Then the New York Mets attempted to sway him their way with a huge multi year deal, only to have their medical team share in the concern. Finally, Correa went back to Minnesota and they took a chance on him and the result in 29 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 65 RBIs and a AL Central Division crown. Correa also appeared in 135 games, which was one less than he played in 2022 and ranks in the top four in his nine year career. So whatever the Mets or Giants saw that swayed them away from signing hiom, the Twins lucked out and got the production they needed and a postseason berth, something the Giants nor the Mets can brag about.

Now the attention is shifted to the ALDS series as the Astros had to battle at the end and took away the division crown from a Texas Rangers team that seemed to have it locked up. Houston was winners of 90 games, but even though they have not looked like the dominiate Astros team of recent years past, they still have the tools and the postseason experience to cause some headaches especially to a postseason novice team like the Twins. Even though the Twins took quick work of the Toronto Blue Jays in their Wild Card series, sweeping them 2-0, this series will be a bigger test for the Twin City squad.

This will be an interesting series, as returning champs hope to repeat, and no pressure on the Twins to steal it away.

Who Has The Edge On The Offensive Side

Catcher
Twins – Ryan Jeffers (.276 BA, 15 Doubles, 2 Triples, 14 HRs, 43 RBIs)
Astros – Martin Maldonado (.191 BA, 12 Doubles, 15 HRs, 36 RBIs)
Edge: Twins

First Base
Twins – Alex Kirilloff (.270 BA, 14 Doubles, 1 Triple, 11 HRs, 41 RBIs)
Astros – Jose Abreu (.237 BA, 23 Doubles, 1 Triples, 18 HRs, 90 RBIs)
Edge: Astros

Second Base
Twins – Edouard Julien (.263 BA, 16 Doubles, 1 Triple, 16 HRs, 37 RBIs)
Astros –  Jose Altuve (.311 BA, 21 Doubles, 2 Triples, 17 HRs, 51 RBIs)
Edge: Astros

Third Base
Twins – Jorge Polanco (.255 BA, 18 Doubles, 14 HRs, 48 RBIs)
Astros – Alex Bregman (.262 BA, 28 Doubles, 4 Triples, 25 HRs, 98 RBIs)
Edge: Astros

Shortstop
Twins – Carlos Correa (.230 BA, 29 Doubles, 2 Triples, 18 HRs, 65 RBIs)
Astros – Jeremy Pena (.263 BA, 32 Doubles, 3 Triples, 10 HRs, 52 RBIs)
Edge: Twins

Left Field
Twins – Matt Wallner (.249 BA, 11 Doubles, 1 Triple, 14 HRs, 41 RBIs)
Astros – Michael Brantley (.278 BA, 2 Doubles, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs) Disclaimer: Brantley just returned from 60-DL and has a lifetime .296 BA in postseason
Edge: Astros

Center Field
Twins – Michael A. Taylor (.220 BA, 14 Doubles, 1 Triple, 21 HRs, 51 RBIs)
Astros – Chas McCormick (.273 BA, 17 Doubles, 2 Triples, 22 HRs, 70 RBIs)
Edge: Astros

Right Field
Twins – Max Kepler (.260 BA, 22 Doubles, 2 Triples, 24 HRs, 66 RBIs)
Astros – Kyle Tucker (.284 BA, 37 Doubles, 5 Triples, 29 HRs, 112 RBIs)
Edge: Astros

DH
Twins – Royce Lewis (.309 BA, 7 Doubles, 15 HRs, 52 RBIs) Disclaimer: Lewis played in only 58 games.
Astros – Yordan Alvarez (.293 BA, 24 Doubles, 1 Triple, 31 HRs, 97 RBIs)
Edge: Astros

The Starters

Except for the first two games, only the Twins know who will throw in Game 3, as Sonny Gray will take the mound with a chance to either keep his team in the series, or give the Twins an edge.

In Game 1, Justin Verlander  will take the mound along with his 13 wins and  144 strikeouts, but his season started a lot different then he thought it would end. Signed by the Mets to be their star pitcher in 2023, it did not go as planned and the Mets made a way for him to return to Houston then to continue to pitch with a team going no where. With the Astros, he was 7-3, with a 3.31 ERA through 11 starts.  The Future Hall of Famer enters the postseason with 16 wins, and nine of them with the Astros in the last four years. On teh other side of the mount, the Twins wills end three year starter Bailey Ober, and his eight wins and 146 strikeouts to try and keep the potent Astros lineup off the board and compete against Verlander in an important Game 1 matchup. Being as smart as I want to be at times, I will definitely have to give the Astros the Edge in Game 1.

Game 2, will showcase Twins Pablo Lopez, who came over from the Miami Marlins in a trade in January for the 2022 Batting Champ, Luis Arraez. Lopez won 11 games, with a 3.66 ERA through 32 starts.  He also pitched in the Wild Card Series against the Blue Jays and tossed 5.2 innings, allowing just one run on five hits, with three strikeouts, earning the victory.  The Astros Framber Valdez, had the best season of his career in 2022, when he won 17 games, with a 2.82 ERA.  In the 2022 postseason, he was 3-0, with a 1.44 ERA through four starts.  This past season, he went 12-11, and looks to regain the same form from 2022, that helped bring a ring back to Houston.  The Edge in Game 2 goes to the Astros.

The Pen

A cast of relievers did a great job for both squads, but it will come down to the men that get paid to close out games.

The Twins have one of the best in game with Jhoan Duran closing out games to a tune of 27 saves in 28 chances and opponents batting .207 against him.

As for the Astros, Ryan Pressly saved 31/37 games with opponents batting just .220 against him.

The edge on this one will be tough as it comes down to who has pitched in the most electrified moments and kept their emotions in check, and only Pressly has more experience in the postseason with 41 games, so the edge will be given to the Astros in a close game.

Summary

Overall the Twins enter the series with nothing to prove as they have already proven that they are a good ball club, but advancing past the ‘Stros would be a great achievement to an already great season.  The Astros, who did not play winning baseball all season, want to get back to the World Series and make history and join the 14 exclusive teams that have won back to back Championships. Luck may be on the Astros side this year, and with a cast that have won the big games before, the Edge goes to the Astros as they win the 5-game series 3-1.

David is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Legends On Deck®, as well as a Co-Host on Legends On Deck Podcast. David was a Senior Editor for MetsMerizedOnline.com, MetsMinors.net and Contributor for Hardballchat.com that spanned from 2010 to 2014. David made his MLB Debut as a writer in June 2014, while covering the NY Mets at Citi Field, for MetsmerizedOnline.com. David also managed his Cape Coral 16U Rec Ball team for the past two seasons and on May 13, 2024 they won their league Championship. On May 15th, David started the first ever Legends on Deck 16U Travel Baseball team in SWFL. David's passion is teaching the game he loves to the future Legends of Tomorrow as well as making available a website that people can have fun sharing and reading. David is also passionate about his career as a Mortgage Loan Officer which allows him to help many families reach their dreams of owning a home. Connect with David via his Social Media pages as he loves to chat all about baseball.

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