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MLB Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Astros vs. Twins Game 2 Preview (Wednesday, Sept. 30)


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Author: Brad Cunningham

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images. Pictured: Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Astros vs. Twins Game 2 Odds

Astros Odds +135 [Bet Now]
Twins Odds -160 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 7.5 (-115/-105) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 1:08 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2

Odds as of late Tuesday night and via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.


The 2020 Astros apparently have some fight in them. They took Game 1 from the Twins behind a ninth-inning barrage, scoring three runs in the final inning on their way to a 4-1 victory.

For Minnesota and their fans, when will the playoff nightmares end? Tuesday’s loss marked the Twins’ 17th straight playoff defeat dating all the way back to 2004. The Twins are heavy favorites again in Game 2 and will send their ace of the future Jose Berrios to the mound to try to save their season.

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Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Offensive Matchup

Houston Astros

Houston has struggled offensively, accumulating a .311 wOBA and 100 wRC+. Those struggles have never been more apparent than the last two weeks of season, as the Astros hit for a measly .219 average and have only a .296 wOBA over that time span.

Houston has also been below average against right-handed pitching, ranking 19th in MLB in wOBA against righties. However, I think they should be able to get to a struggling Jose Berrios in Game 2.

Minnesota Twins

Despite the poor showing in Game 1, the Twins have done most of their damage this season against right-handed pitching, ranking ninth in MLB in wOBA (.330) against righties. Nelson Cruz was the surprising leader of the Twins offense, as the 40-year-old accumulated a .303 average and a .441 wOBA in 53 games.

The Twins have mainly been successful versus fastballs and changeups, which are Urquidy’s main two pitches. So, they should have a good opportunity to get back on track offensively in Game 2.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Jose Urquidy vs. Jose Berrios

2020 Stats (via Fangraphs)

Jose Urquidy, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Jose Urquidy was relatively unknown by most fans until he burst onto the scene during the playoffs last season. He tossed five clutch shutout innings in Game 4 of the World Series and saved the Astros from going behind 3-1 in the series.

However, the 2020 version of Urquidy is a house of cards just waiting to fall. He’s posted a stellar 2.73 ERA through 29.2 Innings, but his xFIP is over 2.5 runs higher at 5.36. Urquidy has been successful with his fastball and changeup, but he’s due for some negative regression.

He will also have tough matchup against a Twins lineup that excels against both fastballs and changeups.

Jose Berrios, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Berrios hasn’t been very sharp this year, accumulating a 4.35 xFIP in 63 innings of work. His biggest issue by far has been his fastball, which has allowed a .455 wOBA to opposing batters. Surprisingly though, he’s thrown his curveball more than any other pitch, and he’s been really effective with it, allowing a .167 average to opponents while producing a 35.2% whiff rate.

Berrios does a great job interchanging all of his pitches, but he has trouble with control, as he hangs too many pitches (7.0% meatball rate this year). However, Berrios has some nasty stuff, and sometimes it looks like he’s throwing a Wiffle Ball out there. 

Even though the Astros offense has been lackluster, I think they should be able to get to Berrios in Game 2.

Bullpen Matchup

Dusty Baker’s bullpen usage in Game 1 was puzzling. I fully expected Framber Valdez to start Game 2, but Baker used him for the final five innings of Game 1 instead. That decision paid off, because the Astros have the lead and a fully rested bullpen for Game 2.

The Astros relievers steadily improved over the second half of the season. Still, the bullpen finished with the 14th-best xFIP in baseball (4.43) and likely wont provide them with an advantage in this series.

Minnesota’s bullpen has been solid all season long. The Twins’ relievers have been especially good over the second half of the season, ranking inside the top-10 in ERA and xFIP.

The Twins should have a slight advantage in the later innings during Game 2.

Weather Report

The wind is going to blow hard out to right field during Game 2, which should benefit both offenses.

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Projections & Pick

With these two starting pitchers on the mound, I think we’ll see a higher scoring game on Wednesday. I have the total projected at 9.46, so I think there is plenty of value on Over 7.5 runs at -115, especially with the wind blowing 17 mph straight out.

Pick: Over 7.5 runs (-115)

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Author: Brad Cunningham

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