The Twins are the first team to make the playoffs a season after losing 100 games (103, to be exact). Barring a Red Sox collapse as AL East leaders, the Twins will play the Yankees in New York on Tuesday in the wild-card game. Some keys to their winning season:
Road tested: The Twins’ 44-36 record away from home is sixth best in the major leagues.
Except for Sano: Miguel Sano hit 28 home runs and drove in 77 runs before being injured Aug. 19. He is the only position player to have missed more than a month because of injury. The Twins will have 10 players with 400 or more plate appearances, most in franchise history.
Hot August nights: A 20-10 record in August put the team solidly in the playoff hunt.
Ace in the hole: Ervin Santana is tied for the major-league lead in complete games (5), third in innings pitched (206⅓) and tied for eighth in victories (16).
Buck starts here: Byron Buxton is hitting .305 since the All-Star break and has the best defensive WAR among major league outfielders.
Stats don’t lie: The Twins improved their runs per game from 4.45 last year to 5.06 this season (fourth best in MLB), and their ERA dropped from 5.08 to 4.64.
Field work: The Twins this season ranked fifth in the AL in defensive runs saved, after finishing 13th (and 28th in the majors) last year.
Free passes: The Twins rank third in baseball in unintentional walks taken.