Skip to main content
Publish date:

How the MLB's postseason format affects the Twins

There are plenty of factors that could play into a unique postseason run.
Rocco Baldelli

The Minnesota Twins are in the thick of the postseason hunt, but this year's pennant chase will look a little different than what the MLB usually looks like. 

On Tuesday, the league announced that it will be implementing a bubble format for its postseason. As part of the format, the American League will play the ALDS and ALCS in San Diego and Los Angeles. The winner of those series will meet up with the National League champion at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, to determine the 2020 World Series champion.

The thought of a neutral site postseason is a strange one in the modern era and has plenty of quirks for the Twins.

The pitching staff will be tested

Much like other bubble formats, the MLB will play their postseason straight through. This means that there will be an extremely limited amount of off days and will put the Twins' pitching depth to the test.

In the past, teams have been able to alter this to get more starts out of their best pitchers. While the Twins could alter their pitching schedule to get an extra start out of Kenta Maeda in Game 1, the soonest they could trot him back out for a start probably Game 5, or at the start of the next series (were the Twins to actually win a playoff series). 

This scenario could put guys the Twins normally wouldn't use in a playoff series on the mound. The No. 5 starter usually isn't a big deal in a best-of-five divisional series, but may have to be used if the Twins can't close out an opponent. In other words, if you still have PTSD over Randy Dobnak's start against the Yankees last October, there's a good chance he'll be back on the mound for redemption this postseason.

The bullpen could also be key to watch as closer Taylor Rogers has struggled in back-to-back appearances. This means that plenty of interesting decisions could be made if the Twins make a deep postseason run.

The Twins will need to be full strength

During the course of the season, the Twins' management with injuries has been a major storyline. As players such as Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, and Max Kepler have all gotten banged up, they've all experienced a quick trip to the injured list in order to be ready for when the games count.

With the new format, this seems like a brilliant decision. The Twins have a veteran team. While chasing an American League Central title would be a priority in most years, there isn't a true advantage in capturing it this season. Therefore, the Twins may be right in getting everyone healthy for the postseason.

This will make the last week of the regular season interesting. With the Twins' magic number to clinch a postseason berth down to five, Rocco Baldelli will have to manage to keep the team healthy and sharp.

How the playoff picture could unfold

At this moment, the Twins are a virtual lock for the postseason. Their biggest challenge now is to make sure they finish in the top four seeds to earn home-field advantage in the Wild Card round.

While the traditional playoff series will be held at neutral sites, the Wild Card round will be played at home ballparks. As of now, the Twins are seeded fourth and hold a 46-point advantage in winning percentage over the Toronto Blue Jays for that spot.

With no fans allowed at Target Field, there's another argument that there's not much of an advantage here anyway. However, the Twins probably wouldn't have the need to travel and be in a familiar ballpark for at least the first three games.

There's also the unique way teams are being seeded, with the division winners comprising the top three seeds and the second-place team making up the next three. The final two seeds are comprised of wild card teams that have a large advantage over Seattle for the final spot.

Entering Tuesday, the Twins have a chance to face Toronto, Cleveland or even the New York Yankees in a best-of-three Wild Card series. Houston is also in the mix, but unlikely to catch Toronto as the second place team, but also holds a half-game lead over the Yankees.

In other words, this could all get extremely messy over the next couple of weeks, but the Twins appear to be ready to punch their ticket soon.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

2nd period surge leads Wild to fourth straight win

With three goals in the second, the Wild blasted the last-place Coyotes.

Gopher Basketball / R.J. Stephens

Late-tip in helps Gophers pass first big test, improve to 6-0

Luke Loewe's bucket with 2.4 seconds remaining helped the Gophers stay undefeated.


Man, 40, found dead stuck in air duct at his Otter Tail Co. home

The discovery was made by family members Monday morning.

Biden Minnesota visit stream screengrab - 11.30.31

What Biden said during his visit to Minnesota Tuesday

The president spoke at Dakota County Technical College.

Grand Marais

Cook County registers its first COVID-19 death of the pandemic

The sparsely populated, highly-vaccinated county has continuously had one of the lowest rates of COVID in the state.

Waits family screengrab CNN

Support for MN family after anti-maskers target child of school board chair

An online group opposing Kelsey Waits outed the child as transgender.

Pixabay - school - classroom

St. Paul schools add 2 days to winter break due to pandemic stress

The added days off are meant to acknowledge the stress the pandemic has caused.

Fardoussa Abdillahi

Charges: St. Cloud mother killed baby, placed him in dumpster

The 4-month-old baby was found by officers on Sunday morning.


1 dead in crash at Lake Street intersection in south Minneapolis

There have been 465 deaths on Minnesota roads this year, according to the state's traffic division.


St. Paul restaurateur's businesses burglarized a 6th time

The owner of The Gnome and Hope Breakfast Bar is asking politicians to help St. Paul business owners.

North Memorial Air Care

Teen suffers life-threatening injuries in head-on crash in southern MN

The 18-year-old was airlifted to a Mayo Clinic hospital in Rochester.

foo fighters grohl mr rossi wikimedia

Foo Fighters abruptly cancel Gophers stadium show hours after announcing it

The band is looking for a new venue because of a disagreement over COVID protocols.


Rob Manfred

Report: MLB and MLBPA agree to 16-team postseason for 2020

The agreement is subject to ratification from MLB owners.

Rocco Baldelli

Baseball Prospectus projects Twins to win AL Central again in 2021

Whether they'll break their 18-game postseason losing streak is still unknown.

Nelson Cruz

How will baseball's rule changes impact the 2020 Twins?

With plenty of unique changes, baseball will look much different this year.

Rocco Baldelli

Rocco Baldelli admits foreign substances are MLB's concern

"Apparently it changes the game in a big, big way."

Rocco Baldelli

Twins-Athletics postponed for Monday amid COVID issues

The Twins are hoping to play a doubleheader with the A's on Tuesday.

Rocco Baldelli

Why the Twins shouldn't fear the Yankees

The Twins have a terrifying postseason past with the Yankees, but this time around there is nothing to fear in the ALDS.

Jake Odorizzi

How can the Twins upgrade their starting rotation?

With less than a month until spring training, the Twins could use another starting pitcher.