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Game 66: Twins at Blue Jays

A quick flashback to 1987

Sports Contributor Archive 2018

First Pitch: 12:37 PM CT

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: TIBN

Know Thine Enemy: Bluebird Banter

Right now, the Minnesota Twins & Toronto Blue Jays are very similar clubs—but in very different postseason positions. Our boys lead MLB’s divisional equivalent of a 3 Stooges short, while the azure avians sit roughly 10 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays and may already be Wild Card-only competitors.

This isn’t the first time such a scenario has occurred between these teams.

In 1987, the Jays were a powerhouse 96-66 squad. Stalwarts such as Tony Fernandez, George Bell, Lloyd Moseby, Jesse Barfield, Fred McGriff, & Cecil Fielder anchored the starting nine, while Jimmy Key, Jim Clancy, and Dave Stieb headed a solid starting pitching rotation. Tom Henke was a certified ace closer out of the Toronto pen and Mike Flanagan (not the one who makes spooky shows for Netflix) wasn’t far behind.

The Blue Jays didn’t play past September in 1987. Why? Because they finished 2.0 GB the AL East-leading Detroit Tigers in this pre-Wild Card era.

Meanwhile, the ‘87 Twins (85-77) were—well, they were something. The pitching philosophy was “Frank Viola, Bert Blyleven, Jeff Reardon—and pray” while the offense featured all of three stick-wielders (Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, & Tom Brunansky) above an .840 OPS. They did exactly one thing well: win at home (56-25).

As you well know, 1987 turned out pretty well for the Twins. Why? Because they finished 2.0 GA of the next-closest Kansas City Royals (83-79) in the AL West. In fact, two more Eastern squads—the Milwaukee Brewers (91-71) & New York Yankees (89-73)—would have topped any Western challenger.

But life—and baseball—being notoriously cruel and unfair...

Today, the Twins make their last trip through customs and hope to close out the international portion of their schedule with a sweep. Let’s watch together (and all collectively hope this Twins team can continue walking the ‘87 path to glory)!

Today's Lineups

Edouard Julien - 2B George Springer - RF
Donovan Solano - DH Bo Bichette - SS
Alex Kirilloff - 1B Vladimir Guerrero - DH
Carlos Correa - SS Matt Chapman - 3B
Trevor Larnach - LF Daulton Varsho - CF
Royce Lewis - 3B Whit Merrifield - 2B
Max Kepler - RF Alejandro Kirk - C
Christian Vazquez - C Nathan Lukes - LF
Michael Taylor - CF Cavan Biggio - 1B
Louie Varland - RHP Kevin Gausman - RHP