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Minnesota’s Last Four Postseasons All Changed in an 82-Game Season

Baseball is a beautiful game. The long season, the in-game decisions, and the chance of playoff glory make each season a new adventure. Minnesota’s playoff fate would have been drastically altered over their last four playoff appearances. There are certainly some things to consider when looking at these records. Obviously, the division will look different this year, but it goes beyond that. The franchise's destiny could have taken on a totally different route if seasons were limited to 82 games.
Image courtesy of © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
2019: 53-29, 9 Games Up
Minnesota still would have won the AL Central after 82 games, but the playoffs would have looked different for the Bomba Squad. New York had the top record in the AL after 82 games so Minnesota would have matched up with Houston in the first round. Besides matching up with the Astros, the Twins had the second-best record in the league and that would have meant home field advantage for the ALDS.

2017: 42-40, 2.5 Games Back
Back in 2017, the Twins used a surge in the second half to separate themselves from the other teams in the American League and clinch the second Wild Card spot. After 82 games, the Twins wouldn’t have been so lucky. Minnesota would have been tied with Tampa Bay and Kansas City for the second Wild Card spot. This would have set up one crazy three-way tie breaker just for the opportunity to play the Yankees in another do-or-die game.

2010: 44-38, 1 Game Back
Minnesota’s first year at Target Field had it’s share of memorable moments, but it wouldn’t have included the playoffs back in 2010. Through 82 games, the Twins trailed the Tigers by one game. Detroit would have walked away with the division, so maybe Minnesota had a shot at the Wild Card? Nope. Boston and New York were off to hot starts in the AL East and the Twins were five games behind the Red Sox for the lone Wild Card spot.

2009: 42-40, 3 Games Back
2009 was a fun season for the Twins as the club stormed back and forced an unforgettable Game 163 at the Metrodome. It might be the most exciting game in Twins history. It never would have happened if the season was shortened to 82 games. Minnesota would have trailed the Tigers by three games, and they would have been tied with the White Sox for second in the division. Either way, the Twins would have missed the playoffs and the drama of Game 163 would have never occurred.

How would previous seasons change if they were limited to 82 games? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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Since we are playing the second half of the season this year - how would those teams of the past finished using second half records?

    • Brandon Brooks likes this

First, following the thought, Nationals would not have made the playoffs and would not have won the WS had the first 82 games record been the deciding factor. 


However, the flaw in this is knowing a season ends at 82 verses playing another 80 makes teams play games different.One, you would be less likely to try and stick through a prolonged slump of someone.Also, managers will make different in game decisions to win that particular game, as now it has more important roll.Instead saying I can give this game up to give my better players some rest, there would be more we need to win situation.How different were the schedules at the time of the 82 game compared to others.Yes, timing of when you play teams can be a huge thing, based on injuries, hot streaks, ect.But, when in a 162 game season Twins may have played a tougher first half schedule than whoever was ahead of them, but in a 82 game schedule each team will have same schedule.


Think about it, some years the Twins have played several non division teams in the first half and will be done with them, while they may not have played others.So for example, say Twins played Yankees, Boston, Oakland, Houston in the first half and finished with them, while Cleveland played Baltimore, Seattle, Rangers, Toronto, and then you stop at 82 games, there are much better chance Cleveland will have easier schedule for first half, but much harder second half, where Twins would have reverse.After a 162 game schedule they will have played each team nearly equal amount of times for much more balanced strength of schedule. 


So as it is nice to look at how things could have been different, there are many flaws to justlook at record at 82 games, when a team knew 80 more were going to be played.If you wanted to take the time to set a strength of schedule modifier to even that out, it would be a little better, but still does not factor in how decisions would have changed in a known shorter season. 

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