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It's (Almost) the 4th of July

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The Twins are a legitimate playoff contender as we enter the holiday weekend. That's...not what we're used to.

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Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

After Kyle Gibson pitched the best game of his career on Thursday, the Twins are now one game clear of their wild card competition.  Go ahead, look for yourself.

This means, of course, that regardless of what happens in tonight's game, the Minnesota baseball Twins will at worst be tied for a wild card spot on July 4th, 2015, not only one area nation's birthday but also roughly the halfway point of the season.  THINK ABOUT THAT SHIT.

In a season where the two best American League teams are perennial laughingstocks Kansas City and Houston, the Twins also being relevant shouldn't be surprising.  But:

That's why you're surprised. (Also, those 2011-2014 midpoint records were all before the late-season pratfalls that eventually cost Ron Gardenhire his job. Finishing just 10 games below .500 would have been cause for optimism!)

The odds are still long that the Twins can keep this up for a full season and sneak into postseason play; Baseball Prospectus gives Minnesota an 11% probability of taking the AL Central or grabbing a Wild Card spot. But.  But.  The Twins haven't had their "number one" starter in Ervin Santana.  They've gotten hardly anything from Kennys Vargas and Danny Santana.  Byron Buxton is out for a few more weeks. Their middle relief has been a crapshoot.  And they're still here, somehow.

Why not us.  Why not now.