50 games to go and the Twins' playoff chances are quickly rising

They were dead in the water two weeks ago, but now they're back in the race.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

At only 4.5 games behind the Indians for first place in the American League Central, it's a bit surprising that nobody is talking about the Twins as a potential division champ. 

Will it be a shock to see the Twins in first place when the final 50 games of the regular season are said and done? Of course. But Cleveland and Kansas City have slumped since burying the Twins a bit when Minnesota struggled against the Dodgers and Athletics after the All-Star break. 

On Wednesday, the Indians traded with the Mets for Jay Bruce (.258, 29 HR, 75 RBI) to try and jumpstart an offense that's been a disappointment. Like Cleveland.com's Paul Hoynes wrote, Edwin Encarnacion was supposed to be the big rig in the middle of the order but he's only had one good month. What's worse is that All-Star closer Andrew Miller is hurt and on the DL while right-handed bullpen power arms Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen are showing signs of wear and tear. 

Bruce is a nice addition but he's essentially a desperation addition to replace All-Star Michael Brantley, who hit the DL with a sprained ankle earlier this week. 

In Kansas City, Alex Gordon's awful season (.196, 5 HR, 34 RBI) has led to his benching, All-Star catcher Salvador Perez is out another 2-3 weeks and the Royals have gone from the hottest team in baseball to a team that's lost eight of 10

Also helping the Twins is the fact that they have the second-easiest remaining schedule in the AL, according to MLB.com. Sadly, the Royals have a slightly easier schedule. 

Wild Card chances

It could get really interesting when the Twins open September with 10 straight games against the Royals (7 of the 10) and Rays – two of the teams the Twins are chasing for the second Wild Card.

There's more going in favor of the Twins, too. 

  • Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios start two of three games in Detroit this weekend.
  • Not scheduled to face Corey Kluber in Cleveland next week. 
  • Finish August with eight games against the last place White Sox and three games against the last place Blue Jays. 

The team to watch over the next 10 days is Seattle as they could wreak havoc in the hunt for the Wild Card with games against the Angels, Orioles and Rays. 

Ultimately, a 10-game road trip against the Yankees, Tigers and Indians in mid-September could spell the end of the Twins' hopes even if they're in the mix at that point. But the fact that they haven't fallen off the edge of the earth (shout out to you, Kyrie Irving), is a testament to their resiliency. 

Next Up

high school football

'Scalpel approach' gives MN schools chance to keep playing sports

County infection rates are no longer the only thing that matters.

CJ-AHyggeHoliday-Photo2

With the help of HVAC, Circus Juventas will host its first holiday shows

After months of canceled classes and shows, Circus Juventas is hosting its first ever holiday show, with safety precautions.

Cameron Dantzler

Vikings send Cameron Dantzler to COVID-19/reserve list

Dantzler's placement leaves the Vikings paper-thin at cornerback heading into Green Bay.

peterson fischbach

Elections 2020 preview: 7th Congressional District

Will Collin Peterson hang on for yet another term?

Zimmer and Hunter

Zimmer explains why he called Hunter's neck injury a 'tweak'

The coach also said Dalvin Cook should return from injury this week.

magazines

60 charged in magazine scam that netted $300M

It's being called the largest elder fraud scheme in the country.

Screen Shot 2020-10-28 at 10.30.23 AM

The Star Tribune is shutting down City Pages

The free newspaper was bought by the Star Tribune in 2015.

billy's on grand

Coronavirus: Billy's on Grand will close for winter

The restaurant is among a growing list of eateries to close for the winter months.

ambulance

1 dead in early Wednesday crash on Interstate 694

The 28-year-old driver was not wearing a seatbelt, the State Patrol said.

Related

Updating the Twins' playoff chances

Losing eight of 12 after the All-Star break puts the Twins in a tight situation.

Everything you need to know about tonight's Twins-Yankees playoff game

Brian Dozier: "Reach back a little bit and take your game to the next level."

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.

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.

Playing .500 over final 32 games should put the Twins in the playoffs, the computers say

Can the Twins go 16-16 or better over the final 32 games of the season?

This week is the Twins' last best chance to pile up wins in the Wild Card race

At this point, it's a day-by-day and week-by-week look at the standings.

Twins' magic number is 3; they could lose every game this week and still make the playoffs

Twins could go 0-6 this week and they'd still get in as long as the Angels lose three games.

Target Field

Ticket strips to all possible Twins playoff games go on sale

Ticket strips include a possible 12 home games at Target Field.