25 games to go: What you need to know as the Twins' lead in the Wild Card shrinks

Six teams are within three games of the Twins with a little more than three weeks to play.
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The American League Wild Card race is as tight as its been all season thanks to the Twins faltering at home against the Royals and losing the opening game of a road trip in Tampa Bay on Monday. 

The Yankees took care of business against the Red Sox to move within 2.5 games of first in the AL East, but more importantly, they've given themselves a three-game lead over the Twins for the first Wild Card. 

Minnesota, meanwhile, has company with the Angels, Orioles, Rangers, Mariners, Royals and Rays all within three games. 

Forecasting the order of the Wild Card standings for the final 25 games of the season is about as easy as forecasting where Hurricane Irma might make landfall in the U.S. But one thing is certain: there's pressure on Minnesota to win right now. Here's why. 

  • Twins play 16 of the final 25 on the road. 
  • Twins' next 6 are on the road against the Rays and Royals. 
  • Meanwhile, the Angels have 5 straight on the road against the A's and Mariners.
  • Good chance the Orioles fade with their next 5 against the Yankees and red-hot Indians. 
  • Rangers have their hands full Tuesday against Braves ace Julio Teheran. 
  • No team has it harder than the Mariners right now as their next 18 games are against the Astros, Angels, Rangers and Indians, including a date with newly acquired Astro, Justin Verlander, on Tuesday night.

Bottom line: The Twins need to make a statement the next six games against two teams chasing them for a playoff spot. 

Minnesota's hot lineup has a chance to feast Tuesday night against Rays right-hander, Jake Odorizzi, who's sported a 6.45 ERA in August. Bartolo Colon gets the start for the Twins. 

Wednesday's game looks a lot harder with Tampa sending lefty Blake Snell to the mound. Snell has allowed 4 runs or fewer in each of his last 10 starts. 

Snell has a 2.93 ERA since July 5, and an even more impressive 1.91 ERA over his last four starts. 

Aaron Slegers, all 6'10'' of him, will make his second career start for the Twins on Wednesday. 

Here are the games that matter most to the Twins on Tuesday. 

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