The Minnesota Twins are on track to capture the second wildcard spot in the American League. This is an unbelievable accomplishment, considering they will become the first MLB team in history to lose 100 games in a season and then come back the following year and make the playoffs. The Twins already know who they will play, as they will take on the New York Yankees in New York on Tuesday, October 3. Let’s discuss a couple of reasons the Twins can win this game and advance to play the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.
The Twins have been crushing the ball as of late and their hot streak behind the plate is
a big reason for why they are positioned where they are in the standings. Over the course of their current five-game winning streak, Minnesota has scored 47 runs; an average of 9.4 runs/game. It does not matter who you play; if you’re scoring runs like that you are probably going to come out with a victory.
The young stars have arrived
Minnesota has been contingent on the development of their young players in recent
years. Up until this year, that strategy had not paid dividends. Young players such as Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton have exploded onto the scene in 2017 and have provided the Twins with a spark behind the plate and in the field. It seems like every single Twins game Byron Buxton is making a play out in center field that makes your jaw drop. At the end of the 2016 season, the Twins ranked 22nd in on-base percentage, 13th in walk percentage and 16th in runs scored per game. Currently in the 2017 season, the Twins now rank 7th in on-base percentage, 6th in walk percentage and 4th in runs scored per game. The young stars are starting to put it all together.
The pitching hasn’t been great, but good enough
Most would agree that the only thing from keeping the Twins from being true contenders is possessing a dominant arm in the starting rotation. They may have a future ace in Jose’ Berrios, but for now he is just a good young pitcher. Over the past month or so, the Twins have seen above-average pitching from Ervin Santana, Jose’ Berrios and maybe most crucially, Kyle Gibson. If these guys can maybe take one more step forward for this club, the Twins could be looking at challenging for a trip to the ALDS.
The excitement is easy to see on the faces of Twins fans as this is the first time in seven years the Twins are even in this position. Senior student Sam Pate cannot wait for the wildcard game against the Yankees.
“I will be watching the game with my friends, who are Yankee fans. Things might get a little heated at times,” he said.
Obviously, the Twins still have some regular season games left. When your team has not touched the postseason in seven years, it’s difficult to contain the excitement. The Twins hope to harness that energy and excitement in New York against the Yankees.