Minnesota Twins look to continue playoff surge in unexpected season

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 20: (L-R) Eddie Rosario
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 20: (L-R) Eddie Rosario /

After taking a hold of the 2nd Wild Card spot, the Minnesota Twins are looking to keep momentum going into the stretch run of the season.

Coming off of a 103-loss season, you would have been crazy to bet on the Minnesota Twins to make the playoffs. However, With only 10 games left for them to play and a small lead on the Los Angeles Angels, the Twins are in prime position to secure their first playoff appearance since 2010.

Ervin Santana has been the anchor to a starting pitching rotation that has been just good enough, with Jose Berrios providing moments of brilliance and Bartolo Colon providing needed stability at the bottom of the rotation. In addition, Kyle Gibson has been solid since the All Star break, with a 3.55 ERA and a 6-3 record.

While the pitching has been decent, the offense has been great. After scoring 4.6 runs a game before the All Star break, they’ve picked it and produced an average of 5.5 runs per game after the break. Much of this production can be attributed to the rise of Byron Buxton, but players like Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco, Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer should also be mentioned when talking about the offensive production. Also, Eduardo Escobar has played admirably in place of the injured Miguel Sano.

Say what you will about the year, one thing all fans should agree on is this season has been fun. With home runs, web gems, and a Big Sexy, this season has been more entertaining than the previous one. Even if they falter down the stretch and are unable to make the postseason, this season should be considered a success. If Buxton can continue his second half production and Berrios can become more consistent, the future looks bright

However, a playoff appearance would be huge for this team. The team could use the experience of a playoff game and they need to get the fans invested again. Despite this year, attendance is still down. According to ESPN’s Attendance Report, the Twins come in at 21st in the league in average attendance. A playoff game, and potentially, a series would get the fans back into the stadium next year.

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As it stands, it would be disappointing if this team didn’t make the playoffs. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Twins have a 66% chance to make the playoffs. With three games remaining against the Cleveland Indians, it seems difficult to imagine those odds being that high. However, with seven remaining games against the tanking Detroit Tigers, the dream seems obtainable.

The Angels final opponents are the Indians, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners. The schedule favors the Twins slightly by opponent win percentage, but they will need to be able to take care of the Tigers and not let them play spoiler. I’d predict the Twins to finish the season at 84-78, with the Angels falling just short and going 83-79. Their most likely foe in the Wild Card game looks to be the New York Yankees.

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As the season comes to a close, it is quite exciting that the Twins are still in the hunt. Although there are some flaws with this team, the production of all the young players is encouraging. If they can keep playing sound baseball into October, then this team should be in the postseason. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be able to finally beat those Yankees for once.