Houston Astros given slightly better odds to pull out ALDS win over Twins ahead of Game 1

Justin Verlander is getting the nod to start Game 1 against the Twins, who have not announced their starting pitcher.

ByMatt Guillermo KTRK logo
Friday, October 6, 2023
Who's up for afternoon baseball? Astros-Twins Game 1 time set
The Houston Astros will send Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez to the mound during the first two games of the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There's a lot to unpack a day after the Houston Astros learned they will host the American League Central Champions, the Minnesota Twins, who swept the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL Wild-Card Series.

SEE MORE: Battle of former 'Stros ends: Correa and Twins deny Springer and Jays

The Twins, led by former 'Stros shortstop Carlos Correa, have confidence heading into Game 1 of the AL Division Series on Saturday. After all, Minnesota had to snap an 18-game playoff losing streak that stretched over the course of 19 years.

ABC13 Sports is giving you the facts you need to know two days out from the very first pitch.

When do the Astros start playing?

There's going to be some afternoon baseball in Houston's future. The team revealed first-pitch times for the first three ALDS games.

Game 1 is set for 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Minute Maid Park. Game 2 will be at 7:03 p.m. Sunday, also at MMP. Then, for Game 3, the Astros will travel to Minneapolis and Target Field for a 3:07 p.m. first pitch on Tuesday.

Times for Games 4 and 5, which are not yet needed in the best-of-five-game series, have yet to be scheduled, but if the ALDS reaches the maximum, Game 4 would be on Wednesday in Minnesota, and Game 5 would be next Friday, Oct. 13, in Houston.

Are ALDS tickets sold out?

The Astros have had ticket sales open since the middle of the last week of the regular season. Even with the uncertainty of the team's playoff fate, all tickets appear to be spoken for based on the team's postseason page, even the if-necessary fifth game.

That means the secondary market will be the place to pick up tickets.

How much are Astros' playoff tickets on reseller sites?

The team's official partner, SeatGeek, showed standing-room-only tickets for $52 each, the least expensive listed as of Thursday afternoon.

But depending on demand, and especially if the 'Stros win or lose the ALDS opener, expect those prices to change.

As of this writing, AL Championship Series tickets have not been posted to the Astros' site yet.

Who are the starting pitchers for the ALDS?

In an alternate universe, Justin Verlander would probably be in a New York City loft recharging for a 2024 Mets run.

Instead, in October 2023, Saturday is JV Day in Houston. The 40-year-old right-handed pitcher will make his 35th postseason start, 17 years after he made the first of his career.

JV will be pitching in a postseason on a week's rest for the fifth time in his career. He's 3-1 all-time in that scenario, with the last game being a winning decision against the Yankees at home in last year's ALCS Game 1.

Framber Valdez will follow JV in Game 2, which will mark his 13th postseason start. His last playoff start came in the World Series-clinching Game 6 last November when he allowed just one run and two hits over six innings pitched.

Houston has yet to tap a Game 3 starter, as well as announce the 26-player roster for the ALDS round.

Minnesota hasn't announced its starters for the first two games, but the Twins tapped Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray to start in their two AL wild-card wins.

What are the Astros' odds of winning the ALDS and beyond?

As of Thursday, FanGraphs gives the division-series advantage to Houston, 56.1% to Minnesota's 43.9%. In fact, of the four remaining AL teams still in, the Astros hold the best chance of advancing, with the Texas Rangers not too far behind at 53.5%.

Of course, take the next numbers with a grain of salt. The Astros have an AL-best 35.6% chance of winning the league championship round and baseball's second-best odds of winning the World Series at 16.8%, which is 10 percentage points fewer than the Altanta Braves, who earned the best record in the MLB this past season.

Which former Astros play for Minnesota?

To again beat a dead horse into glue, Carlos Correa, who played in the first seven years of his career in Houston, is the shortstop for the Twins. Christian Vazquez, who won a championship last year with the 'Stros, is a catcher for Minnesota.

Dallas Keuchel, who won an AL Cy Young Award and a World Series in H-Town, is a pitcher for the visiting team.

2023 Astros-Twins ALDS schedule, best of five

  • Game 1: Minnesota at Houston, Saturday, 3:45 p.m.
  • Game 2: Minnesota at Houston, Sunday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m.
  • Game 3: Houston at Minnesota, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 3 p.m.
  • Game 4: Houston at Minnesota, Wednesday, Oct. 11*
  • Game 5: Minnesota at Houston, Friday, Oct. 13*

All times Central Time.

* - if necessary

Stats provided by Sports Reference.

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