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.
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.
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.
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?