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Twins, Astros to open playoff series with matinee game times

The best-of-three series begins Tuesday in Minneapolis.
Byron Buxton

Baseball fans won't have to stay up late to see the outcome of at least the first two games of the Wild Card playoff series between the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros this week. 

The schedule has the best-of-three series beginning Tuesday at 1 p.m., with Game 2 starting at 12 p.m. on Wednesday. If a third game is necessary, a starting time will be announced. 

Tuesday's game will be televised on TBS and Game 2 will be broadcast on ESPN2. 

Minnesota clinched the AL Central division title on the final day of the 60-game regular season Sunday, and in doing so secured the third seed in the eight-team American League playoff field. Arguably, no team has a better path to the World Series than the Twins. 

Houston finished 29-31 and was fortunate to finish second in a bad AL West to sneak into the playoffs. But this is the same team that was 21-15 on Sept. 3 before spiraling to an 8-16 mark over the final 24 games of the season. 

The key to the series will be winning Game 1, where the Twins will sent Kenta Maeda to the mound against Houston's Zack Greinke. Greinke can be great, though ESPN notes that he had a 5.73 ERA over his final seven starts and batters hit .321 while slugging .536 against his most-used pitch (four-seam fastball). 

If the Twins advance to the ALDS, they'll face Oakland or the White Sox, thus avoiding the Yankees, Rays, Toronto and Cleveland unless they meet in the ALCS. 

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