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Scoreboard watching: Twins will face juggernaut in ALDS no matter what

The schedule slightly favors the Astros finishing with the AL's best record.
Author:
Rocco Baldelli

With two weeks left in the regular season, both the Houston Astros and New York Yankees could reach 100 wins Wednesday. 

The two American League powers enter play Wednesday with identical 99-53 records, and they're in an intense battle for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, with the team that finished runner-up to undoubtedly host the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series. 

Minnesota has no choice in the matter. So long as the Twins win the AL Central, they'll be going to New York or Houston for a best-of-five series, and there's zero doubt that Minnesota will enter the series as an underdog. 

So which team will it be? Based on their remaining schedules, we probably won't no until the very end of the season. 

Houston's schedule: 

  • 1 vs. Rangers
  • 7 vs. Angels
  • 2 vs. Mariners

The Astros are 12-6 against the Rangers, 9-3 against the Angels and a whopping 16-1 versus the Mariners this season. 

New York's schedule: 

  • 2 vs. Angels
  • 3 vs. Blue Jays
  • 2 vs. Rays
  • 3 vs. Rangers

The Yankees are 4-1 against the Angels, 9-7 against the Blues Jays, 12-5 against the Rays and 2-1 versus the Rangers this season. 

The schedule slightly favors the Astros, and only because they don't face any teams contending for a playoff spot, while the Yankees have to face a desperate Rays club that is battling for a wild-card spot. 

FanGraphs projects the Astros to finish with 106 wins and the Yankees to reach 105 victories. If the projection holds accurate, it would mean the Twins would head to New York for a best-of-five series against their playoff nemesis. 

Minnesota's playoff history vs. New York: 

  • 2017: Lost AL Wild Card 8-4. 
  • 2010: Swept in ALDS 3-0. 
  • 2009: Swept in ALDS 3-0. 
  • 2004: Lost ALDS 3-1. 
  • 2003: Lost ALDS 3-1. 

All that negative history might still be preferred over facing the electric trio of starting pitchers the Astros boast with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke. 

If the Yankees and Astros finish with identical records at season's end, the No. 1 seed will go to the Astros because they won the season series against the Yankees 4 games to 3. 

A 163rd game serves as a tiebreaker only for division championships and in the event that two teams competing for the second wild-card spot finish tied. 

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