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The long weekend ahead

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Five games that will define the Twins’ stretch run

Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

This coming Labor Day weekend (Friday-Monday), the Twins will play five games in four days against the Detroit Tigers.

For Friday’s twin-bill, each game will be seven innings long. The second tilt will feature the Tigers as the home squad despite the contest being played at Target Field.

The results of the series, what with the Twins battling the White Sox & Indians for the division crown(s) and the Tigers nipping at the heels of a playoff spot, could very likely determine what Minnesota will be playing for in the final few weeks of 2020.

Of those three statements above, which would have been the most astonishing to believe if they had been uttered in late February or early March of this year? I’m not sure there is a correct answer to that question. In a season that has been defined by instability and general weirdness, the phrase “a crucial five-game series between the Twins & Tigers” is just the latest installment.

Last weekend, Gardy’s Cats got the best of Rocco’s bunch, sweeping them in three Comerica Park affairs.

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers
Miggy giving a curtain call to—nothing.
Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

A large bugaboo at the moment? The Twins are currently “slugging” (if you can call it that) .349 against left handed pitching, with an OPS of .657 in that same department. One has to go back to 2005—a year notorious for its offensive futility—to find similar numbers against southpaws. Last year, the Bomba Squad hit lefties to the tune of a .521 SLG & .872 OPS, for comparison’s sake.

Predictably, Detroit will open the series with LHP Matthew Boyd on the mound for Friday’s early contest, likely a bevy of lefty bullpen arms in game two, and then Tarik Skubal on Saturday.

By Monday night, the Twins organization may have a much clearer understanding of what their stretch run will look like. Will it be competing for a division title—or somewhat backing in as a low-seed wild card? Who would have thought that five games against the Tigers in September might provide the answers we are looking for.

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
An empty Target Field awaits its Motor City visitors.
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images