Twins Magic Number Reaches Two
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski, USA TodayThe Minnesota Twins start a three-game series in Cleveland tonight. While it would be great if the Twins could clinch a playoff spot at home this weekend, it's pretty cool that they are likely to clinch a playoff spot in Cleveland.
Let's not forget where this team came from. Last year, the team lost 103 games, a low mark in the Twins 56 seasons in Minnesota. There were unexpected firings and hirings. The team got off to a good start and held on through the All-Star break. A week before the July 31st trade deadline, the Twins went on a losing streak. At the same time, Cleveland finally started winning, and so did the veteran Kansas City Royals. The Twins fell behind in the AL Central but also in the AL Wild Card. At the time, their playoff odds sat below five percent.
Fans (and most writers) felt that the Twins were right in trading a couple of veterans (Jaime Garcia and Brandon Kintzler) who become free agents at the end of the season. The players weren't happy and they handled it just like we would hope they would. They set off to prove people wrong.
And they've done that. They proved fans wrong. They proved their front office wrong. They've proven most national writers and experts wrong.
Here's the scenario. If the Twins lose all of their games, and the Angels won all of their games, the Angels would win the Wild Card spot. If the Twins win just one of their remaining six games, they would clinch a tie and force a Game 163 with the Angels if the Angels win out.
For the Royals and Rangers to win the Wild Card, they are going to need to win out and hope that the Twins and Angels lose out.
And, I think it's exciting for Twins fans. Let yourself be excited. Take a few minutes to think about the ride that the Twins players, coaches and front office have put us on throughout this 2017 season. The story is amazing! The baseball has been terrific. They have won 23 more games already this season than they did last year.
Yes, it also means a one-game Wild Card playoff game in New York against the Yankees in one week. While the Twins will be the underdog, anything can and has happened in one game playoff games.
I have to agree with Aaron Gleeman's tweet from this weekend:
Let's enjoy this final week of the regular season. Let's appreciate what we as fans have been able to watch this year. Let's appreciate the seasons that veterans like Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier and Ervin Santana have had to get the Twins to this point. Let's consider the improvements made from last year to this year (or even early this year to late this year) of some of the young players like Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Polanco. Let's consider the job that Paul Molitor and his coaching staff have done to get the Twins to take this step forward.
And when the Twins reach the playoffs, whether it's tonight, tomorrow or this weekend, let's not be afraid to let the emotions flow, whatever that means for you.
And hey, once you're in the playoffs, anything can happen. That 1987 Twins team won 85 games and surprised their way to a World Series championship. I'm not saying that's going to happen. I'm not saying that's likely. I'm just saying, it's OK to dream on that.
But most important, I just want to thank the organization, the front office, the coaching staff and the players for making this such a fun season. Fans have been given meaningful games in September, and will have at least one meaningful playoff game in October. It's been a great ride so far, and I'll stick with it as long as it goes!
- luckylager, Blake, Shane Wahl and 12 others like this