Twins clinch second AL wild card spot thanks to Angels' loss to White Sox
Every spot in the AL playoffs is now accounted for; Minnesota lost 103 games last year
The Twins probably qualify as the most unlikely playoff team this year. Currently at 83-75, they are likely to end up with the worst record among the 10 postseason entrants.
Still, this is a colossal accomplishment for the Twins.
They were an abysmal 59-103 last season, which was the worst record in baseball and earned them the top overall pick in the 2017 draft.
This season, though, behind a powerful offense and improvement from young talent like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios along with very good veteran output from the likes of Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier and Ervin Santana, everything turned around.
Perhaps most remarkable here is that the front office decided to temporarily become a "buyer" before switching course and becoming a "seller." On July 24, the Twins traded for Jaime Garcia. Then, in the midst of losing six of seven games, they traded Garcia away. All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler was also shipped out.
The players who stayed persevered. Though entering August with a 50-53 record, the Twins would go 20-10 in August. In one August stretch, they won 11 of 14.
Underdogs from the day pitchers and catchers reported to camp, the Twins are now in the postseason for the first time since 2010. Coincidentally, they were swept by the Yankees that year and have been a bit of a Yankees punching bag in the playoffs and it's the Yankees they will face in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday.
Only Mauer and Glen Perkins remain from that 2010 team, but this Twins team was swept in Yankee Stadium not more than two weeks ago. The good news is this time it's only one game where, say, Santana could go out and dominate while the Twins' young power thrives. It's possible.
For now, the Twins can celebrate. They've accomplished a major turnaround and made the playoffs against pretty steep odds.
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