10 games to go: Twins still sitting pretty in Wild Card race

Don't panic. All the pressure is on the Angels to catch the Twins.
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The Twins open a four-game series in Detroit tonight.

The Twins open a four-game series in Detroit tonight.

The Yankees swept the Twins right out of New York but thanks to the Indians taking care of business against the Angels the Twins are still in control of their Wild Card dreams.

Minnesota is still 1.5 games up on the Angels, but the three straight losses in New York allowed the Rangers to creep back within 2.5 games. But the Angels remain the main threat to the Twins' postseason hopes. 

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Scoreboard watching Thursday

Angels vs. Indians, 3:07 p.m.: This could be boom or bust for the Angels as they face Indians right-hander Danny Salazar, who has been flat out terrible since returning from the DL . He's expected to pitch between one and three innings today, according to Cleveland.com

Twins at Tigers, 6:10 p.m.: The Tigers are 11-33 since Aug. 5, easily the worst mark in the American League over that time. More good news is that starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman was pounded by Minnesota last month, giving up 7 runs in the first four innings. Zimmerman has a 9.10 ERA over his last five starts. 

Scenarios that put the Twins in the playoffs

With 10 games to go and seven of those against the Tigers the Twins are sitting pretty. It's even better considering the Angels play today through Sunday against the Indians and Astros, who just so happen to be fighting for the best record in the AL. 

Playing anything less than .500 ball over the final 10 games could spell disaster for the Twins. But as long as they play .500 or better, the Angels to play at least at a .636 clip just to tie. 

  • Win 9 of 10 to finish 87-75, forcing the Angels to go 11-0 just to tie. 
  • Win 8 of 10 to finish 86-76, forcing the Angels to go 10-1 just to tie. 
  • Win 7 of 10 to finish 85-77, forcing the Angels to go 9-2 just to tie. 
  • Win 6 of 10 to finish 84-78, forcing the Angels to go 8-3 just to tie. 
  • Win 5 of 10 to finish 83-79, forcing the Angels to go 7-4 just to tie. 

Sweep and sweep scenario

The Tigers are so bad that it wouldn't be crazy to see the Twins sweep the four-game series today through Sunday. At the same time, the Angels could easily lose today to Cleveland and all three this weekend against Houston. 

If it happens, the Twins could wake up Monday morning at 82-74 while the Angels would be 76-79. That would put them 5.5 games behind the Twins with one week to play. 

The fact the the Twins are even in the playoff picture is remarkable. According to MLB.com's postseason projections, Minnesota had a 4 percent chance to make the playoffs on Aug. 5. Today, Sept. 21, their chances of snapping a six-year playoff drought are 65 percent. 

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