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Game 161: Twins at Rockies

It all comes down to... other people’s games.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

First Pitch: 7:10 pm CDT

TV: Bally Sports North / ~ / Radio: TIBN

Get your scoreboard-watching eyes ready.

Yes, the Twins are playing tonight, but Emilio Pagan is the starter, so let’s temper our expectations and get back to reality. Minnesota has made the playoffs — the Wild Card Series will begin Tuesday at Target Field, likely in the afternoon. The only remaining variable? Who the heck they’ll be playing.

A litany of convoluted tiebreakers, dependencies, and arcane rituals mean that the Twins could STILL be facing either the Houston Astros (in a 2020 rematch), the Texas Rangers, or the Toronto Blue Jays. One of those teams is going to be out of the mix entirely; any one of them could still be arriving in Minneapolis shortly.

See the below diagram, courtesy user Mthomas1174 of /r/minnesotatwins, the only soul still sane enough to provide us with this information (blacked out are the realities that cannot come to pass after last night’s results):

None of the above even counts the National League race, which could still see any combination of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds filling the final two slots behind the Philadelphia Phillies, the only NL Wild Card yet to clinch.

So yes, Pagan will be starting in what is tantamount to a spring-training tuneup for the Twins. With no major record milestones in the field of view, the focus is reps, health, and awaiting news — both of the Wild Card shakeout, and of the minute-to-minute health of Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, and Byron Buxton.

COURTESY: Baseball Savant (click to expand!)

It’s weekends and races like this that make baseball as enjoyable as it is — a 6-month grind comes down to 48 hours — but we have plenty to be stressed out about next week as we try to avoid a 20-game postseason losing streak. For now, let’s appreciate the little things, like comfortably clinching in front of the home crowd last week.

And, hey, wins 87 and 88 are still there for the taking.