With an easy 8-1 win over the Cubs on Saturday night (box score), the Twins clinched a spot in the expanded 2020 MLB postseason. The Twins will be part of the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2009-10. The Twins become the fifth team to secure a spot in the 2020 postseason, as they join the Dodgers, Rays, White Sox and A's.
In keeping with its established strengths, Minnesota homered three times en route to the win over the Cubs. Even though they've fallen from the power heights they reached in 2019, when the Twins set the single-season record for team home runs, they still rank sixth in MLB in 2020. At 39 years old, DH Nelson Cruz leads the team with 16 home runs, and Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario have also reached double figures. Marquee free agent addition Josh Donaldson also is beginning to flash vintage power just in time after missing much of the abbreviated season with a calf strain.
Pitching was also a strength for Rocco Baldelli's club, as it ranks fifth in MLB with a team ERA of 3.58. Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill proved to be essential free agent additions to the rotation.
The Twins remain alive in the AL Central. Going into Sunday's slate they're in second place and trailing the White Sox by three games. Although it's unlikely they'll catch Chicago, there's not much advantage to winning the division given the structure of the 2020 postseason, in which all participating teams will play a best-of-three series in the wild card round. The Twins will go into that 2020 postseason having lost an improbable 16 straight playoff games, dating to 2004. Last year, they were swept by the Yankees in the ALDS after a 101-win regular season. The Twins haven't won a playoff series since 2002.
At present, the Twins are in line to be the No. 5 seed in the AL, which means they would face the No. 4 seed Yankees in the wild card round.