How Astros postseason showdown distills into two make-or-break categories

IT COMES DOWN TO THIS

With the Minnesota Twins set to play the Houston Astros in the ALDS at Minute Maid Park this weekend, two big factors will play a role in the outcome of the series.

Home runs and strikeouts. The Twins have hit the most home runs in the American League this season (tied with the Rangers), but they have also struck out more than any other team in 2023.

However, the Twins have also struck out more batters than any pitching staff in baseball.

Something will have to give, as the Astros have struck out at the lowest clip of any team that qualified for the postseason.

So as you watch this series play out, keep an eye on the strikeouts and dingers as they could be the keys to victory.

Plus, which player will have the better series? Carlos Correa or Jeremy Pena?

Be sure to watch the video above for the full preview of the ALDS!

Editor's note: The Twins have announced Baily Ober will start Game 1, not Joe Ryan as was initially expected.

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What could hold the Texans back this season? Composite Getty Image.

We made it! Training camp is officially here, with all the Texans players having reported to the team and set to take the field this Thursday.

And while the Texans are the favorites to win the division, there are some areas of concern heading into the season.

ESPN Texans reporter DJ Bien-Aime joined The Mina Kimes Show and shared his thoughts on the Texans outlook this season.

When looking at the Texans offense, Bien-Aime pointed to Houston's play calling as being a possible issue in 2024. Bobby Slowik did a terrific job in his first season as an offensive coordinator. But he will have his hands full keeping all his playmakers happy with Stefon Diggs joining the team, and Nico Collins expecting a lot of looks after signing a massive contract extension.

Kimes also pointed to Slowik's insistence on staying committed to the running game even when the team was having zero success on the ground. Hopefully that issue will get corrected either through better results in the run game, or putting the ball in CJ Stroud's hands when the ground game is repeatedly getting stuffed.

On defense, both Kimes and Bien-Aime named Houston's secondary as the big x-factor this year. Bien-Aime named cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. as the only player in the secondary that he truly trusts. He also strongly believes that rookie cornerback Kamari Lassiter will start opposite Stingley as the team's No. 2 corner.

The Texans certainly have concerns at defensive tackle with Sheldon Rankins and Malik Collins gone, but the secondary has to be the biggest worry in a pass-heavy NFL. Not to mention the level of quarterback play the Texans will face while dealing with a first-place schedule this year.

If you love hearing informed football analysts talking ball, this is the video for you. They cover all things Texans and give a full preview of the AFC South, plus predictions!

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