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  • The Twins’ Playoff Odds, and the Week Ahead in the AL Central and Wild Card Races


    Ted Schwerzler

    This was the week that the Minnesota Twins turned their postseason odds into 100% and clinched the AL Central. Doing so for the first time at home since 2010, the monumental occasion was a fun one at Target Field. But, who will they play?

     

    Image courtesy of Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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    Although the Twins will wrap up their home schedule during the coming week as the Oakland Athletics come to town, they’ll still have at least one more series in that they host an AL Wild Card round. Whatever team occupies the visiting dugout after the A's leave town will be a much tougher opponent, but there is a decent chance it’s a club that the Twins have handled previously this season.

    The most likely scenario has Rocco Baldelli’s club welcoming an AL West foe. The division continues to change hands on a near-daily basis. Minnesota owns the season series against both the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, but facing either in the postseason presents a different beast altogether.

    Here’s the picture, and who could potential embark upon Target Field during the first week of October:

    Toronto Blue Jays
    Playoff Odds - 97.3%
    Although the Blue Jays aren’t going to win the AL East, they have definitely held their own this season. The past week was filled with divisional foes, and John Schneider’s club took a pair of road series against both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. They increased their hold on the top wild card spot, and they finish the season with the same two teams (in order) but north of the border. Toronto will look to continue beating teams they may see in October.

    Texas Rangers
    Playoff Odds - 91.4%
    Kicking off the week with a series win at home against the Boston Red Sox, the Rangers sprinkled in an off day before sweeping the Seattle Mariners at home to end the week. The strong performances elevated them to the top spot in the AL West, taking that position from the Houston Astros, and severely crushing Seattle’s playoff chances. Bruce Bochy’s club gets the Angels and Mariners on the road over the final week. Their goal will be to hold off the competition within the division and lock up the number two overall seed.

    Houston Astros
    Playoff Odds - 57.1%
    Currently projected to be the Twins first-round opponent as the third wild card team coming to Target Field, the week was not good for Houston. The Astros lost the top spot in the AL West thanks to a home series loss against the Baltimore Orioles, and a sweep by the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. In their past two series against Kansas City, the Astros have gone 1-5. Playing that poorly against a bottom feeder heading into the playoffs certainly doesn’t bode well. The Astros will have World Series pedigree against no matter who they face, but they’ll look to heat up against the Mariners and Diamondbacks on the road this upcoming week before the playoffs start.

    Seattle Mariners
    Playoff Odds - 54.2%
    Following a sweep by the Dodgers at home, the Mariners rebounded early this week by beating the hapless Oakland Athletics in three straight contests. They then got a day off on the road, traveling to Texas, and found themselves at the wrong end of another sweep. The Mariners are in an uphill battle for the division, but still right there for the wild card. Playing seven games, all at home, against Houston and Texas will make the AL West an absolute bloodbath over the final week.

    Who Minnesota will face on October 3rd should begin to reveal itself midweek. The opponent is all but certain to be an AL West foe, and only the Mariners have a winning record against the Twins this year (4-3), but the -2 run differential for Minnesota shows how tightly the squads have played each other.

    Based on recent results, who are you most hoping to see? Who would you like to see the Twins avoid?

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    Ranking who I would like to play down to who I wouldn’t:

    1.) Seattle

    2.) Texas

    3.) Houston

     

    We are deeper than Seattle and I think would play them well. Texas without Scherzer doesn’t have the same moxy as they had in season. The Stros always seem to be Twin killers, so I’d like to avoid them.

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    8 minutes ago, GoldenTwin said:

    Ranking who I would like to play down to who I wouldn’t:

    1.) Seattle

    2.) Texas

    3.) Houston

     

    We are deeper than Seattle and I think would play them well. Texas without Scherzer doesn’t have the same moxy as they had in season. The Stros always seem to be Twin killers, so I’d like to avoid them.

    Yes, this order would be fine, but in round 2. Let’s just keep winning this week and see what happens.  Who knows?

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    9 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

    If Texas goes 2-5 they will get the 2 seed. I will give you 10-1 odds that the Twins are not the #2 seed.

    And the Twins would have to go undefeated the rest of the way too if the Rangers only win 1.

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    My list would be, in order of preference for twins to play in wild card round:

     

    1.  Texas Rangers.  I think we match up well with them and they won't have Sherzer.

     

    2.  Mariners. This would be tough as I think the games would be very close and could go either way.

     

    3.  Astros.  They worry me the most due mainly to their winning pedigree.  Also Manager Dusty Baker would easily out manage Rocco.  

    Hope this is the year we win a playoff game.  We could advance to the second round.  Go Twins!!

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    It's more likely the Twins play Toronto than Texas in the first round. The Jays close the season against the Yankees and Rays.

    If the Jays get the #2 wild card they will be playing back-to-back series against Tampa.

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    17 minutes ago, Whitey333 said:

    Hope this is the year we win a playoff game.  We could advance to the second round.  Go Twins!!

    They could make it to the World Series. All they need to do is go 9-6.

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    5 hours ago, DJL44 said:

    If Texas goes 2-5 they will get the 2 seed. I will give you 10-1 odds that the Twins are not the #2 seed.

     

    4 hours ago, Brandon said:

    And the Twins would have to go undefeated the rest of the way too if the Rangers only win 1.

    Texas has 87 wins and the Twins have 83, but the Twins have the tiebreaker with a 4-3 regular-season edge. Thus Texas at 2-5 and Twins at 6-0 gives the Twins the No. 2 seed.

    Unless Texas has been surpassed by either Seattle or Houston. If there is a tie for the West lead and either Toronto or Twins are at the same number of wins, the divisional tie is settled first, before any tiebreakers that relate to seeds and/or wild card inclusion.   

     

    My nit has been picked, but I agree that the Twins are highly likely to be the No. 3 seed. 

    Elsewhere, I do hope that Houston/Seattle goes 2-1, one way or the other, and that the race goes until Sunday so that they are inclined to use Verlander and Castillo that day.

    Since I'm begging, let's keep Toronto in it until the end as well, so they are inclined to use Gausman on Sunday.*

     

    *While I'm at it, may each game go at least 12 innings. 

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    If the bats show up like they have in the second half, Twins can make a deep playoff run. 
     

    The pitching is there to make it happen. Should be looking to do more then just end the streak. 

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    14 minutes ago, lake_guy said:

    Are any of the other teams at a point that they lose just to draw the Twins?  

    No. 

    Including that if you look at the last 30 games, the Twins have the best record in the bunch. Post-All-Star Break may show a similar story.

    And that the teams are so tightly packed that intentional losing could risk not making the playoffs at all. 

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    17 minutes ago, lake_guy said:

    Are any of the other teams at a point that they lose just to draw the Twins? 

    No. The AL East runners up have locked up the first Wild Card. The Blue Jays are likely Wild Card number 2. That means each of the three AL West teams are fighting just to get into the playoffs, None of them are looking to lose because they would find themselves watching the playoffs from couches.

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    An interesting thing to watch will be if the AL West comes down to the last game or two, will any of the teams feel compelled to throw their best starter at it just to get into the playoffs, and thus taking them out of starting game 1 of the Wild Card series against the Twins. For example, Houston has Verlander and Seattle has Castillo lined up to pitch Monday and Saturday, so they'd be out for Tuesday. Houston also has Valdez lined up to pitch Wednesday and then Tuesday (Game 1) but if it's win or go home on their final game Sunday, would they pitch Valdez on 4 days rest (and take him out for Game 1 of Wild Card series).

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    1 hour ago, JYTwinsFan said:

    An interesting thing to watch will be if the AL West comes down to the last game or two, will any of the teams feel compelled to throw their best starter at it just to get into the playoffs, and thus taking them out of starting game 1 of the Wild Card series against the Twins. For example, Houston has Verlander and Seattle has Castillo lined up to pitch Monday and Saturday, so they'd be out for Tuesday. Houston also has Valdez lined up to pitch Wednesday and then Tuesday (Game 1) but if it's win or go home on their final game Sunday, would they pitch Valdez on 4 days rest (and take him out for Game 1 of Wild Card series).

    You seriously think a team needing to win to get in wouldn't pitch its best available starter?

     

    Zero chance.

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    8 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

    You seriously think a team needing to win to get in wouldn't pitch its best available starter?

     

    Zero chance.

    Yea I'm assuming they will pitch their best available starter. So hopefully it does come down to the last two days and they blow through their top starters and bullpens. Good news is that all 4 teams in the final weekend series could all be playing for something significant: Texas vs Seattle & Houston vs. Arizona.

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    6 hours ago, DJL44 said:

    I will give you 10-1 odds that the Twins are not the #2 seed.

    Have you looked at who these three teams play in the coming week?  Each other, to a large degree.  Wins are guaranteed to happen.

    It's still faintly possible for the Twins to pass all three but in the spirit of fairness you should offer higher odds than 10-1 or you're just taking Peter's dollar.

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    46 minutes ago, ashbury said:

    you should offer higher odds than 10-1 or you're just taking Peter's dollar.

    Peter was the one who said he thought it would happen. He should be giving me even odds. I split the difference.

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    Sounds like the Astros have inflicted some emotional and psychological scars on our community. But they’ve been just ‘good’, not great, all season, and have been DREADFUL down the stretch. I’m not backing away from a team that just got swept at HOME by the Royals…in games they NEEDED to win.

    I don’t know what to predict…but for the first time since the streak began, they’re actually close, if not on par with the opposition they’ll see in the first round. This is a prerequisite for success, IMO…despite the common refrain of “anything can happen”. It’s not about the regular season records. It’s about who you have, how they’ve been playing, and pitching match-ups. I like the Twins to do SOMETHING here, more than I liked them with 100 wins in 2019…much more, because of the above.

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