As of 7/31/2018-1:27 A.M., your Minnesota Twins currently sit 8 games back of the division leading Cleveland Indians. The Twins are in full-sell mode after shipping away Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, Zach Duke, and Lance Lynn each to contending teams. It seems as the front office has waved the white flag on the 2018 season. Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer have publicly expressed how deflated the moral is inside the clubhouse. However, there is a certain something that always seems to cure strife within a team: Winning during a playoff race.
Yes, I know what you're thinking. "Boof, this season is over. The front office is literally trying to make Molitor lose. We're too far out of the race." However, I'm here to tell you that there is still a (un)reasonable chance this team can win the division. The following situations involve plenty of IF's and BUT's, but if the Twins are going to win the division (I almost laughed typing that) the if's and but's will have to be bountiful. This article is meant to be very optimistic and will probably end up sounding satirical, but hey, a Twins fan can always dream.
Current Minnesota Twins Record: 49-56
Remaining Home Games: 29
Remaining Away Games: 28
Remaining Twins schedule:
vs. Cleveland (2 games), @Cleveland (7 games) W/L Prediction: 7-2
vs. Royals (6 games), @Royals (4 games) W/L Prediction: 8-2
vs. Tigers (7 games), @Tigers (6 games) W/L Prediction: 10-3
vs. Pirates (2 games) W/L Prediction: 1-1
vs. White Sox (5 games), @White Sox (2 games) W/L Prediction: 6-1
vs. Athletics (4 games), @Athletics (3 games) W/L Prediction: 3-4
vs. Yankees (3 games) W/L Prediction: 1-2
@Rangers (3 games) W/L Prediction: 2-1
@Astros (3 games) W/L Prediction: 1-2
Final Record Prediction: 88-74
Current Cleveland Indians Record: 57-48
Remaining Home Games: 28
Remaining Away Games: 29
Remaining Indians schedule
vs. Twins (7 games), @Twins (2 games) Prediction: 2-7
vs. Angels (3 games) Prediction: 1-2
vs. White Sox (3 games), @White Sox (6 games) Prediction: 6-3
@Reds (3 games) Prediction: 1-2
vs. Tigers (3 games) Prediction: 2-1
vs. Orioles (3 games) Prediction: 3-0
vs. Red Sox (3 games), @Red Sox (4 games) Prediction: 2-5
vs. Royals (3 games), @Royals (7 games) Prediction: 8-2
vs. Rays (3 games), @Rays (3 games) Prediction: 3-3
@Blue Jays (4 games) Prediction: 2-2
Final Record Prediction: 87-75
Yes, a lot of things will have to go right for the Twins to even come close to this mark. The Indians will have to play around .500 ball the rest of the season, .526% (30-27) to be exact. Twins will have to go 39-18, a .684% mark.
However, this isn't just about throwing a giant turd at the wall and hoping it sticks; a legitimate argument can be made for this run.
The Case for the Twins
The Twins offense has under-performed all season due to the literal disappearance of Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. Brian Dozier hasn't revved up his second-half engine. Max Kepler's production is down. However, Eddie Rosario is having another breakout year. Joe Mauer is at least putting up respectable numbers. Mitch Garver is showing why he was a highly rated offensive catcher. Polanco is hitting well and still improving. Jake Cave has a very solid approach at the plate and is valuable in the lineup. If, and I mean IF, Sano, Dozier, Kepler, and maybe even Buxton (in September) could find the same magic that they have had in the past, this offense could be very powerful in August and September. The starting pitching has been very solid and will continue to be; Lance Lynn's departure hardly hurts this group. The trading of Ryan Pressly and Zach Duke opened up late-inning gaps in the bullpen, but Adalberto Mejia and Gabriel Moya have filled in honorably in a short amount of time. Addison Reed is also returning from the DL (gulp). There are also other potential bullpen options waiting in AAA such as Trevor May, Alan Busenitz, John Curtiss, Tyler Duffey, among others.
Entering August during the 2017 season, the Minnesota Twins sat at 50-53 after losing 6 out of their last 7 games to end July. Then, August magic happened. The Twins ended August with a 20-10 record, propelling them towards a Wild Card spot in a season that was supposed to be given up on. This August, the Twins play the Indians 8 times, the Royals 3 times, the Tigers 7 times, and the White Sox 3 times. It's simple: Play well against the Indians, win the games you're supposed to against the weaker teams, and this team has a shot. Crazier things have happened.
Well, I just typed all of this at 3:00 A.M. on a Monday night/Tuesday morning.. all in hopes of seeing my Minnesota Twins get swept in the ALDS... Yeah, that sounds glorious to me right now. A man can dream.