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13 games to decide the season

Time for push to come to shove for the 2023 Twins

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

For the past five months, the Twins have bobbed around the .500 mark like the float on the end of a Minnesota angler’s line. They’ve managed to stay just ahead of the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central until very recently opening up a bit more of a gap, but never enough to set and hook and land it.

Such inconsistency has set up the immediate scenario. What transpires between August 24 & September 6 will likely determine how much interest September—perhaps October— baseball garners in Twins Territory.

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers
All hands on deck!
Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The nuts-and-bolts of the next 13 games...

  • 4 vs. Texas Rangers
  • 3 vs. Guardians
  • 3 at Rangers
  • 3 at Guardians

Why is this stretch so important?

The Rangers have been one of the most surprising squads in the American League. Loaded with offensive firepower—Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Adolis Garcia to name a few—they have thus far dethroned the heavily-favored Houston Astros in the AL West. A so-so pitching corps was majorly upgraded by nabbing Max Scherzer at the trade deadline. Even old friends Mitch Garver & Robbie Grossman are having resurgent seasons in Arlington.

Philadelphia Phillies v Texas Rangers
Family reunion!
Photo by Bailey Orr/Texas Rangers/Getty Images

The ‘23 Twins have not exactly been impressive against the four other teams I’d consider “cream of the crop” in MLB: 0-3 vs. Atlanta Braves, 2-4 vs. Baltimore Orioles, 0-3 vs. Tampa Bay Rays, & 1-2 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers. So, a 2-5 (or worse) 7-game stretch against the Lone Star statesmen is a very real possibility.

The situation doesn’t improve for the Cleveland clashes. The Twins are just 3-4 against the Guardians this year and have 2022 in the “objects are closer than they appear” side mirror—when a complete and utter collapse against Francona’s crew torpedoed playoff hopes.

Even more terrifying: Emilio Pagan is back to high-leverage innings just before a prolonged stretch against Cleveland. Shudder.

MLB: JUN 28 Twins at Guardians - Game 1
Cue the flashbacks in 3—2—1...
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Thursday, September 7, the Detroit Lions & Kansas City Chiefs kick off the NFL season. By then, the verdict will be in on whether all MN sporting interest will be tinged Purple—or at least somewhat still residing with Minnie & Paul’s bunch.