The final weekend of the MLB regular season has arrived and the Minnesota Twins have a chance to shock the baseball world by making the playoffs.
“I love our chances,” outfielder Torii Hunter said Thursday, via the Star Tribune. “All we wanted was a chance to compete and to get in the postseason, and we have given ourselves a pretty good chance right now.
“This whole team has been fighting all year. We overcame a lot of odds, and I’m excited.”
Entering the weekend, the Twins, Astros and Angels are fighting for one final Wild Card spot in the American League. Houston has a one-game lead on Minnesota and L.A.
Twins players likely have the same mindset as Angels star Mike Trout: "We've got to win out," Trout said Thursday, according to the L.A. Times. "We can't lose any more. It's plain and simple."
The winner of the Wild Card will likely play the Yankees in New York in a one-game Wild Card playoff for the right to advance to the Divisional Series against the Blue Jays or Royals.
Wild Card standings
- Astros 84-75
- Twins 83-76
- Angels 83-76
- Astros: 3 on the road against Arizona
- Twins: 3 at home against Kansas City
- Angels: 3 on the road against Texas
For the record, the Twins (46-32) have the fifth-best home record in the American League, while the Astros (31-47) and Angels (34-44) have two of the four worst road records in the AL.
How the Twins can clinch outright
- Twins go 3-0; Astros go 1-2 or 0-3; Angels go 2-1 or worse
- Twins go 2-1; Astros go 0-3; Angels go 1-2 or worse
How the Twins can tie for the Wild Card
- Twins go 3-0; Astros go 2-1 and/or Angels go 3-0
- Twins go 2-1; Astros go 1-2 and/or Angels go 2-1
- Twins go 1-2; Astros go 0-3 and/or Angels go 0-3
The Houston Chronicle says that if the Twins and Astros tie, they'll meet Monday at Target Field in a dramatic Game 163. If it's a tie between the Twins and Angels, the Angels would have home-field advantage.
What if there is a 3-team tie?
This is where things get extremely complicated. According to MLB.com, a three-team tie would result in the teams being ranked, with the team with the best combined record against the other two teams getting the choice of who they want to play.
"In the three-team tie, we'd have to have the three teams choose/receive their A, B and C designations, with Club C traveling to face the winner of the game between Clubs A and B to determine who advances to the Wild Card Game. So how is that decided? Here goes."
More from MLB:
"So let's say the Angels, Astros and Twins end up tied for the second AL Wild Card spot. The Angels, who were 14-12 against those other teams, would get first choice, followed by the Astros (13-12) and Twins (5-8)."
In such a scenario, the Angels would have the choice to be team A, B or C. If they chose A, they would play a home game against team B, and if they win that game, they would have another home game against team C for the right to move on.
Essentially, teams A and B have to win two games while team C has to win just one, but team C will not get a game at home. Team A would get two home games (would need to win its first to stay alive) while team B would play its first game on the road, and if they win that game they would play the second game at home.
Also worth noting is that Kansas City, per the Star Tribune, has already starting resting some of its best players. Lorenzo Cain and Alex Rios didn't play in Thursday's game against the White Sox while Salvador Perez and Kendrys Morales were removed from the game early. But the Royals can still win home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, so they probably won't mail it in this weekend.