You know how these series previews usually start with “this is the most important series of the year because we’re in a playoff race”? Well, you can throw that out the window now, because the Twins have all but officially cliched the second wild card spot. They could officially clinch tonight, if they beat the Indians and the Angels also lose to the White Sox—but that’s probably not going to happen, because the Indians are very good and the White Sox are very bad.
Still, the Twins’ magic number is two, so there’s a very strong chance they will clinch their playoff spot during this week’s three-game series against the Indians. They could get swept by the Indians and still clinch. The Angels just have to lose twice.
So let’s party!
I mean, sorta. Might be kinda nice to mess up the visitors’ clubhouse at Progressive Field rather than the home clubhouse at Target Field—not that it matters much either way. But in any case, yeah. The Twins are going to the wild card game.
So what does that mean for this series? It means the importance of this series could really just be how it previews a possible playoff match-up. If the Twins win the Wild Card game next week, they would face the team with the best record in the American League, which currently is the Indians. The only reason this series may not be a preview of what is to come is because the Indians have already clinched the division (duh), so they might be resting their regulars and throwing some randos out there to play these last few games of the season. Still, that’s probably good news for the Twins. Who doesn’t like beating up randos?
As far as the starting pitchers the Indians are putting out there this week, they are not randos. In tonight’s Game One, Bartolo Colon will face off against Josh Tomlin. Though Tomlin is no rando, he has been kinda poopy this year. He’s posted a 4.98 ERA over 132.0 innings, which is “meh”. He’s face the Twins three times this year and also been “meh”—in his best start, he went 8.0 innings and gave up only one run (and still lost, lol), and in his worst (and most recent) he lasted 5.2 innings and gave up four runs. Tomlin will be facing Colon, who is also poopy because his name is Colon, but also because he’s had a 9.17 ERA in the month of September and lost all four games he’s started.
Game two of this series will feature Adalberto Mejia against Danny Salazar. Both guys have exactly a 4.48 ERA, which is sort of funny. They are awfully close on innings pitched, too—Salazar has 98.1 major league innings pitched this year, while Mejia has 94.1. Even their last outings against the opposing team are relatively equal, as Salazar gave up one run over 7.0 innings against the Twins on August 15th, and Mejia pitched 5.0 shutout innings in his last start against Cleveland on June 23rd.
Game Three, an 11:00 am CT east-coast matinee, will feature Ervin Santana and Carlos Carrasco. Notable here is that, if the Twins followed their normal rotation schedule, Kyle Gibson would be starting this game. However, with the off-day on Monday, the Twins are starting Santana on normal rest and skipping Gibson. Why? Because this lines up Santana to start the Wild Card game next Tuesday, October 3rd, on normal rest.
Somewhat surprisingly, Santana hasn’t faced the Indians since June 25th. However, he did pitch 6.0 shutout innings against them then, and he also pitched 7.0 shutout innings against them on May 12th. The only run he’s given up against the Indians this year was in his start on April 20th, where he went 6.0 innings with one earned run. This bodes well for him, especially if he gets to face a bunch of minor league randos.
The Twins haven’t exactly beat up on Carrasco this year either, however. He’s started against them twice, and both times gave up only one earned run—a home run to Byron Buxton, and a home run to Eddie Rosario.
So yeah, the Indians might be the best team in the league (currently), but I think this looks like a good series for the Twins.
Although, maybe I’m just wearing the rose-colored glasses, because we’re going to the post-season baby!
Game 1: Tuesday, September 26th, 2017; 6:10 pm CT — Josh Tomlin RHP vs. Bartolo Colon RHP
Game 2: Wednesday, September 27th, 2017; 6:10 pm CT — Danny Salazar RHP vs. Adalberto Mejia LHP
Game 3: Thursday, September 28th, 2017; 11:10 am CT — Carlos Carrasco RHP vs.Ervin Santana RHP
- Quite obviously, Miguel Sano will not be back this series. He probably won’t be back this year.
- Max Kepler, on the other hand, is hoping to return tonight. He’s been out a couple games with a bad back.
How many games do you think the Twins will win against the Indians this week?
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