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Do the Twins have a path to the playoffs?

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Getting there is possible, but what would happen after that is a bit scary.

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Back in March nobody expected the Twins to be in the playoff hunt in late August, but here we are. With roughly fifty games left in the season, the Twins are currently on the cusp of a playoff spot, tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild card. The playoffs are totally possible. There are a couple of ways the Twins could get there.

First, the Twins could win their division outright. At five games behind Cleveland, it’s a bit of a hill, but very doable. The Twins still have three games against the Indians at the end of the season, plus a lot of baseball to play in between.

Besides that series against the Indians and three games against the Yankees in New York, the rest of the Twins’ schedule is relatively winnable. They have seven games left against the Royals. The Royals are, of course, pesky, but the Twins are 8-4 against them this season. The Twins have six games left against Detroit, who has already raised the white flag; and they have six games left against the AL-worst White Sox. The other remaining opponents will be AL-East also-rans: Tampa Bay and Toronto.

Meanwhile, the Indians face an AL-Central heavy schedule (it’s like they plan it that way or something), but also face Los Angeles, Seattle, and Baltimore, all of whom have been hard to beat this year. Both the Mariners and Angels are in the thick of the Wild Card race themselves.

If the Twins do manage to pull off the upset and win the division, their most likely opponent for the ALDS would be Boston. The Red Sox currently hold a five game lead in the AL-East over the Yankees. The Yankees could potentially end up winning the division instead, in which case the Twins would lose in three straight games in the ALDS.

Another less likely scenario is that the Houston Astros stumble and the Red Sox end up with the best record in the AL, which would pit the Twins against the Astros. That would be bad as well. We have a -29 run differential over six games against those guys.

The second way the Twins could get in to the playoffs would be as a wildcard. They are currently tied for the second wild card spot with the Angels, and 2.5 games back of the Yankees, who are in the first wild card spot. The Royals and Mariners are just 1.5 games out of the second wild card spot, so the race is quite tight. As I mentioned, Kansas City is well positioned to play spoiler for either the Twins or Indians, and potentially make a run if they do. Seattle, on the other hand, has a tough row to hoe. Their remaining schedule features the Astros, Angels, Indians, and a decent Texas Rangers team. The Mariners are also relying on old friend Andrew Albers, if that tells you anything about the state of thir pitching situation. LA, by the way, also has heavy doses of the Astros, Mariners, Indians, and Rangers in their future, if you hadn’t figured that out.

Winning the wild card means, of course, a one-game playoff. Right now, the Twins would face the Yankees, and bad moments of the ‘00s are running through my head. If the Yankees manage to get ahead of Boston, nothing short of an epic collapse would keep the Red Sox from being a wild card team. If the Yankees fade away, the Twins would likely face the Angels, Royals, or Mariners, all of whom have a more grueling final few weeks than the Twins.

And if the Twins did get to and win the wild card game, that would mean they play the top seed in the American League in the ALDS, which would right now be Houston. Like I said, that hasn’t gone well for the Twins. Boston is the only team with a realistic shot of knocking the Astros out of the top slot.

It is also theoretically possible for KC to win the Division, and somehow make the Twins and Indians the wild card teams. That’s a real long-shot though, so don’t bet that horse.

As it currently stands, the Twins would most likely face either the Red Sox or the Yankees, followed by the Astros, if they made the playoffs. Even if the Twins survived the meat grinder in the AL playoffs, a date with the Dodgers juggernaut is likely in the World Series. So while a playoff bid is quite possible for this team, it is hard to expect them to go far once they get there. How cool is it to dream of a 30th anniversary championship though?

Lets keep our hopes up though. Cinderella went to the ball and met the Prince, after all.

Poll

How far do the Twins go this year?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Don’t make the playoffs
    (174 votes)
  • 29%
    Wild Card loss
    (219 votes)
  • 23%
    ALDS loss
    (179 votes)
  • 2%
    ALCS loss
    (18 votes)
  • 2%
    World Series loss
    (16 votes)
  • 19%
    World Series WIN!!!!!!
    (148 votes)
754 votes total Vote Now