Twins now face the ugly possibility of being a wild-card team

Nobody expected this to be happening.
Author:
Publish date:
Jorge Polanco

It's all tied atop the AL Central as the Twins and Indians enter another huge showdown Saturday night with identical 70-46 records. 

Cleveland's astonishing comeback from what was once an 11.5-game deficit is complete, but the schedule, and thus the odds, still favor the Twins to win the division. According to FanGraphs, which takes into account strength of schedule, the Twins have a 59.1% chance to win the division compared to the Indians' 40.9% chance. 

The odds simply favor the Twins because the majority of their remaining games are against AL Central bottom feeders Chicago, Kansas City and Detroit, while the Indians still have to face the likes of the Red Sox, Yankees, red-hot Mets, Rays, Angels, Phillies and Nationals. 

But those are the odds. They're virtually meaningless, especially since the Twins and Indians still have to face each other eight more times. 

Life, as the Twins now know it, is one without a certain future. They're still a near-lock to make the playoffs (95.9% chance, per FanGraphs), but going in as a division winner compared to a wild-card team is vastly different. 

As a division winner, they would host a best-of-five divisional series. As a wild-card team, they would play in a do-or-die game against the other wild-card team for the right to advance to the divisional round. 

If they were to win the wild-card game they would be forced to play as the road team against the top team in the AL, which is primed to be the Yankees or Astros, who are tied atop the AL entering play Saturday with identical 76-40 records. 

Here's how the wild-race looks entering play Saturday: 

  1. Twins/Indians - 70-46
  2. Rays - 67-50
  3. Athletics - 66-50
  4. Red Sox - 62-56
  5. Rangers - 58-57

At this point, the Red Sox are 5.5 games out of a wild-card spot and the Rangers are 8 games back, so the team that doesn't win the AL Central, the Twins or Indians, will likely be in a do-or-die wild-card game against the Rays or Athletics. 

Minnesota is 5-2 against the Rays this season but just 3-4 against the Athletics. 

No one thought the Indians could come back from a massive deficit, but they have. Fortunately, the odds still favor the Twins, but if the pitching doesn't improve soon, even the lowly Royals, Tigers and White Sox will be capable of putting up big numbers against them. 

Next Up

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Watch: Gopher alums Antoine Winfield Jr., Tyler Johnson make key plays in Bucs' playoff win

The Minnesota greats had a pair of highlights as Tampa Bay advanced to the NFC Championship.

Er-hgw7XYAQup5n

Crews respond to fire at Gertens in Inver Grove Heights

It's reported that a greenhouse on the grounds was on fire.

Marcus Carr

Why the Gophers could be in line for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament

The Gophers are done with a brutal stretch and are poised to make a run.

police tape

Authorities ID man fatally struck by 'errant bullet' in Willmar

The man was working in his garage when he was fatally shot.

ambulance

1 dead, 1 critically injured in head-on crash on Highway 169

The State Patrol says driving impaired may have been a factor in the crash.

Richard Pitino

Gophers game against Nebraska postponed due to COVID outbreak

The Cornhuskers have had 12 members of its team test positive for COVID-19.

Bob Kroll

What Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll said in Sunday radio interview

Kroll said that once he's retired he'll go "radio silent."

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for Sunday, January 17

The health department provides updates daily at 11 a.m.

Sen. Julia Coleman

'No one's business': State senator calls out attack on her pregnancy

Sen. Julia Coleman represents Minnesota's District 47.

Related

Nelson Cruz

Big challenge: Twins face Yankees with Indians charging in AL Central

This is not what the Twins had envisioned with an 11.5-game lead in early June.

Max Kepler

Only 1 team has done what the Twins might do this season

Minnesota is still the statistical favorite to win the division.

Rocco Baldelli

Yankees, Astros now have bigger division leads than Twins

Minnesota has the third-best record in the AL entering play Friday.

Max Kepler

Indians have been 'chasing down these Twins' for months

The biggest series of the season starts Thursday night.

Target Field

Here's how the Twins can clinch the AL Central this week

Minnesota can clinch as soon as Wednesday night.

Jonathan Schoop

Schoop HR lifts Twins over Rangers; lead in division race grows

Minnesota leads the AL Central by 1.5 games over Cleveland.

Jose Berrios

Twins can't relax as Indians apply pressure in the AL Central

Cleveland is the hottest team in the MLB in June.