- The Minnesota Twins are -149 favorites on Tuesday in Game 2 of their AL Wildcard series with the Houston Astros
- Minnesota has lost a North American pro-sports record 17 consecutive postseason games
- Houston went 3-4 in last season’s playoffs in potential series-clinching games
As they take the diamond Tuesday for Game 2 of their American League Wild-Card series against the visiting Houston Astros, the Minnesota Twins find themselves in an all-too-familiar position: winless in the playoffs, staring elimination in the face.
The Astros got to the Minnesota bullpen for three runs in the ninth inning Monday, posting a 4-1 victory in first game of this best-of-three set.
The Twins have now lost 17 consecutive playoff games.
Houston and Minny get back at it less than 24 hours after the conclusion of Game 1. Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.73 ERA) takes the mound for the Astros, facing Minnesota’s Jose Berrios (5-4, 4.00 ERA).
It’s a 1:00 pm ET start at Target Field. The Twins are the -149 favorites.
Astros vs Twins Game 2 Odds
|Team (Starter)||Moneyline||Runline||Over/Under Run Total|
|Houston Astros (J. Urquidy)||+138||+1.5 (-160)||O 8 (-105)|
|Minnesota Twins (J. Berrios)||-149||-1.5 (+140)||U 8 (-115)|
Odds as of Sept. 29.
Minnesota’s last postseason win was in the 2004 ALDS.
Second Season Second-Best
Berrios is a combined 45-31 over the past four seasons. The right-hander was 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA over his final seven regular-season starts.
When the bright lights of postseason baseball shine the spotlight on him, something happens. And it isn’t something good.
In two career playoff appearances for Minnesota, Berrios is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA and 1.71 WHIP.
Because of how Rocco managed the bullpen today, the #MNTwins are already behind the 8-ball tomorrow.
Jose Berrios, and the volatility that comes with him, has to be outstanding.
— Ted (@tlschwerz) September 29, 2020
In 2017, Berrios took the loss in relief against the New York Yankees in the AL Wild-Card game. Entering in the third inning to replace starter Ervin Santana, Berrios coughed up three earned runs in three innings as the Twins lost 8-4.
Berrios got the start in Game 1 of the 2019 ALDS, again facing the Yankees. He worked four innings but didn’t figure in the decision as the Bronx Bombers won 8-7.
Answering Call for Astros
Last fall, the Astros could run out Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander to launch a playoff series. This year, Cole is gone (free agency) and Verlander is out (Tommy John surgery).
Luckily, they have Urquidy to turn to in their time of need. He’s made a habit of answering that call, especially during playoff baseball.
In the 2019 postseason, the-then rookie right-hander was 1-0 with a hold and a sterling 0.90 ERA over four appearances.
If you’re an Astros fan, you have to feel good about Jose Urquidy in the playoffs. https://t.co/UZmcX3r0SB
— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) September 26, 2020
Urquidy struck out 12 while walking just two over 10.0 innings. He started Game 5 of the World Series against the Washington Nationals. Urquidy pitched five innings of two-hit shutout baseball. He got the win in Houston’s 8-1 verdict.
The righty seldom gives up walks (2.4 per nine innings pitched) or home runs (1.2 per nine innings pitched). That’s a vital stat against the homer-happy Twins.
Digging a Deeper Hole
The Twins already held the MLB mark for postseason futility. Swept in last year’s ALDS by the Yankees, Minnesota surpassed the 14-game standard previously set by the Boston Red Sox.
After this latest setback, Minnesota is officially the most futile playoff team in North American pro-sports history. The Twins had held a share of the mark for consecutive playoff losses with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago lost 16 straight Stanley Cup playoff games from 1975-80.
Astros win, 4-1. Framber Valdez was brilliant. Twins have lost 17 straight postseason games. Seventeen. And Houston's got Jose Urquidy and Lance McCullers Jr. lined up for Games 2 and 3. They're in excellent position.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 29, 2020
The Washington Senators came to the Twin Cities to become the Minnesota Twins in 1961. Oddly enough, since that time, Minnesota’s longest regular-season losing streak was a 14-game skid in 1982.
Houston isn’t especially reliable at closing out series. The Astros were just 3-4 in potential series-clinching games during the 2019 playoffs.
However, the Twins are 0-8 in the last eight games in which they’ve faced elimination, and 3B Josh Donaldson (calf) is out for Minnesota.
Pick: Houston Astros (+138)
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