The Runner Sports

Twins Enter Players Weekend In Playoff Position

The series against the Chicago White Sox did not end as well as expected. Through seven innings of the fourth game, it looked like the Twins were ready to clinch it and create some separation in the standings. But then the bullpen ran into some trouble and the offense went quiet against the White Sox relief corps.

And then Derek Holland kept the offense that way on Thursday, while José Berríos and the Twins’ defense made it easy for Chicago to build a lead. And like that, the Twins lost the five-game series against the last place Sox.

Luckily, no other team in the Wild Card race was able to capitalize on the Twins’ struggles the last couple of days, as Minnesota remains in the second Wild Card spot with a half game lead over three different teams: the Royals, Angels, and Mariners.

Now the Twins head into Toronto, and Players Weekend, with a need to play better, because they probably won’t get that lucky the rest of the way. This string of three consecutive series, eleven games, against the White Sox and Blue Jays was supposed to be a stretch where the Twins pulled away from the pack. There is still time for that. If the Twins can win two of three in each of the next two series they will go 6-5 in that stretch, but if they can turn one of those into a sweep, their 7-4 record over the stretch will make the losing series in Chicago palatable.

Not to bring up my old word again, but this team is resilient, so there is probably no need to worry if they will bounce back or not, but maybe Players Weekend will be the extra kick to help them do just that. This team plays best when it is loose, and a loose atmosphere is exactly what this promotion is designed to create.

So which players are going to play the loosest?

Probably not Joe Mauer, Robbie Grossman (injured anyway), Matt Belisle, Ryan Pressly, Taylor Rogers, Nik Turley, or Trevor May (also injured), as all of them have decided to go with their last names on the back of their jerseys.

Also don’t expect much difference from players like Kyle Gibson or Trevor Hildenberger, who went the classic route of shortening their name and adding a Y at the end.

But maybe we’ll see previously hidden talents arise from The Doof, El De La Pica, Chulo, Rozycki, Bandidou, or Friday’s starting pitcher, Morales. That’s Tyler Duffey, Eduardo Escobar, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, and Bartolo Colón, in case you were wondering.

Regardless, the Twins need to play some good baseball this weekend, especially with the Blue Jays five games behind them. Toronto, who may also be playing with some extra fire on Players Weekend, may view this as their last chance to get back into contention. The Twins have often played better as an underdog, and that is not where they find themselves this weekend. If Toronto starts hitting homers off the pitching staff like they have in the past, the standings could look a lot different by the end of this weekend. Then again, Twins players, regardless of the name on the back of their jersey, have been hitting incredibly this past couple of weeks, and might give Toronto a taste of their own medicine.

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer is a lifelong Twins fan who spends most nights dreaming of learning a knuckleball and pitching them to a World Series victory.
Charlie Gillmer

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