The Minnesota Twins have been the most surprising team of the 2017 season, as just a season ago featured a team that lost 103 games. Now that they are contending for a playoff spot this late in the year, anything less than a postseason appearance for this squad would be disappointing to the Twins’ fan base.
Minnesota entered this week four games back of the first wild card spot and leading the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by two games for the second wild card. However, a three-game road series against the Yankees did not go in the Twins’ favor. Minnesota dropped the series three games to none, virtually locking up the first wild card for New York or the Boston Red Sox and making the race for the second wild card all the more interesting as the Angels are only one game back of the Twins with ten games remaining (the Angels game was active when this issue went to print).
If there were a distinct advantage for any of the teams remaining, it would be who they play against down the stretch. The advantage here is clearly with Minnesota, as the Twins face the Detroit Tigers seven of their last ten games, which include four at home and three on the road. The Tigers are the second worst team in the American League, sporting a 62-90 record. If there is any hope for the Angels, it is that the Twins get swept by Cleveland in their three-game series coming up. Minnesota will have to take care of business against Detroit if they want to maintain their status as a playoff team.
The Angels on the other hand, have ten games remaining. They are currently on a two-game losing streak and in the middle of a three-game home series against the Indians; A series in which they have lost the first game already. The Angels have a bit more difficult schedule to end the season than the Twins do. After the three-game stand against Cleveland, the Halos will hit the road and play against the playoff-bound Houston Astros and bottom-feeder Chicago White Sox. After the road trip, the Angels will finish up at home against fellow wild card hopeful Seattle. The Angels have to take at least three of four from the White Sox if they want to pass the Twins in the standings.
The Twins have had a coming out party of sorts in the second half of the season. Young players such as Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario and Jose’ Berrios have taken the next step in their development and could very well become stars in the near future. Even veterans like Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer are stepping their game up at the right time. Much like last year, Dozier is tearing it up and hitting the ball out of the park in the second half of the season while Joe Mauer is hitting a hot .400 from the plate over the past month.
The Twins look to snap their losing streak in Detroit tomorrow as the Tigers welcome the Twins to Comerica Park for the start of a four-game home stand. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m.