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Twins are playing as well against top teams as other contenders

Their record might surprise you.

It feels like there's a perception out there among fans that the Twins don't play well against the better teams in the league.

It's no secret that Central Division is a crap shoot with the Royals, Tigers and White Sox being pushovers and the Twins and Indians have done a great job beating up on them.

The reality is, baseball's a tough sport and most teams in the American League – at least the division leaders – are in the same spot as Minnesota.

If you beat up on the bad teams and play .500 baseball against the big boys, you should be in good hands and that's been the case for the Twins, Astros and Yankees this season.

Here's how the Twins have performed against current AL teams with winning records outside of their division.

Twins record vs. current AL winning teams

  • Boston: 1-2
  • Houston: 4-3
  • New York Yankees: 2-4
  • Oakland: 3-4
  • Tampa: 5-2
  • Texas: 2-1
  • Total: 14-14

Now here's the Astros and Yankees record against teams with the same criteria.

Astros record vs. current AL winning teams

  • Minnesota: 3-4
  • Boston: 4-2
  • New York Yankees: 4-3
  • Tamps: 1-3
  • Cleveland: 4-3
  • Total: 16-15

Yankees record vs. current AL winning teams

  • Cleveland: 1-2
  • Minnesota: 4-2
  • Houston 3-4
  • Total: 8-8

Note that the Yankees have not played Oakland or Texas yet this season.

Regardless, as the records indicate, playing above .500 baseball against the best teams is simply hard to do.

Which is why Cleveland has been able to make up so much ground on the Twins in a short period of time. However, even though the Indians were able to take pick up sweep over Texas and series win over the Yankees, their record against the teams listed above has actually been underwhelming.

Indians record vs. current AL winning teams

  • Boston: 2-1
  • Houston: 3-4
  • New York Yankees: 2-1
  • Oakland: 1-5
  • Tampa: 1-3
  • Texas: 4-3
  • Total: 13-17

Indians veteran second baseman Jason Kipnis told recently, that they've done more than just beat the bottom feeders. "We’ve won series against the Yankees, Boston and the Twins themselves," Kipnis said. "It’s not like we’re just not beating anyone that’s good."

Well, not exactly Mr. Kipnis. Yes, they did best the Yankees in a three-game series in Cleveland but they next time they meet up, it's for a four-game series in the Bronx and they'll also have to play Tampa for three games on the road – after already losing three out of four at Progressive Field.

Also, both of those series for Cleveland will be played this month, so Kipnis' statement won't be valid until those games are played.

Now the Twins are in midst of their toughest portion of their schedule. They have Cleveland for four games, then have to play the Brewers twice in Milwaukee and will then travel to Arlington, Texas for a four-game series with the Rangers. 

So that accounts for 10-consecutive games against teams above .500 and the hope is – if were relying on the numbers above – the Twins will go 5-5 in that stretch.

The good news is from Aug. 19 to the end of the regular season, the Twins will play 26 of their final 38 games against the White Sox, Tigers and Royals.

But they will also face Cleveland six more times after this weekend with road trips to Boston (who are free falling out of the playoff picture) and to Washington to the play the Nationals.

So if you're worried about the Twins' chances in the postseason because they don't beat the better teams enough, well that's the case for every team.

Minnesota's remaining games against Cleveland and the rest of the Central Division is what will most likely determine their fate for the postseason.

If they end up dropping the majority of those games then, yes, the perception of this Twins team will have an incredibly sour taste after a phenomenal start to the regular season. 

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