Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Twins are a longshot, but they have the type of team to scratch out a deep run into the playoffs.

October 02, 2017

By becoming the first team ever to reach the postseason after losing at least 100 games the year before, the 2017 Twins have already made history. If they can get past the Yankees in the AL wild card game—and no, their four series losses to the Bronx Bombers from 2003–10 aren't relevant here—it's difficult to see how manager Paul Molitor can steer them past the Indians given a shaky rotation that will be limited to one start from staff ace Ervin Santana.

Still, this is a different team than the one that had just a 5% chance of reaching the playoffs as of August 1, right after dealing closer Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals and starter Jaime Garcia to the Yankees. They were 50–53 at the time, averaging 4.55 runs per game in scoring but yielding 5.25. They've gone 35–24 since, bashing out 5.86 runs per game while riding the hot bats of Brian Dozier (.309/.407/.600, 17 HR in that span), Eddie Rosario .293/.326/.566, 16 HR), Joe Mauer (.340/.404/.459), Jorge Polanco (.316/.377/.553, 10 HR) and Byron Buxton (.298/.342/.541, 11 HR), the last of whom has emerged as a star on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, they've cut their runs allowed to 4.29 per game in that span, with Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson stabilizing the rotation and Matt Belisle handling closing duties.

But the Twins didn't get this far by listening to anybody spouting stats. They're about the magic, and if Buxton and company can channel the spirit of Kirby (Puckett), Herbie (Kent Hrbek) and Wrench (Dan Gladden), they just might produce another Minnesota miracle to go with their 1987 and '91 championships.

You May Like