Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.
The Twins won't know who they'll be playing in the Division Series until very late tonight or, more likely, late Sunday afternoon, but their bid for home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs will end if they lose again today.
Today's schedule: Twins/Blue Jays (12:10 p.m.), Yankees @ Red Sox, Game 1 (3:10 p.m.), Rays at Royals (6:10 p.m.) and Yankees @ Red Sox, Game 2 (8:05 p.m.).
The Twins will face the AL East runner-up on Wednesday at Target Field in Game 1 of the ALDS. The magic number for both teams in the AL East is 3, so that division could be decided tonight, but only if one of two scenarios happen: 1) Rays win, and Yankees get swept in their doubleheader; 2) Rays lose, Yankees sweep their doubleheader.
***The Twins would lose tiebreakers to the Yankees and Rays based on the season series. The Yankees won their season series with the Twins 4-2, and the Rays won their their season series with the Twins 5-3. Since both are headed to the playoffs, those teams would not play a Game 163 tiebreaker. If they finish with the same record, Tampa Bay will win after winning the season series 10-8.
At 1-7 in their past eight games, the Twins have so many internal issues, that all of the scenarios above might seem like window dressing. This team is 0-9 in its past nine postseason games and it has spoiled a brilliant second half, replacing much of the fans' confidence with paranoia. Two games left to try to reverse a very disturbing trend.
Update: Justin Morneau had another good workout before the game, but it's official, he won't be on the roster for the ALDS. Morneau might be getting close to ready to face live pitching, but Gardy said that would have to happen at the team's instructional league, in Fort Myers, Fla. ... Gardy said Joe Mauer felt good after catching all nine innings in Friday's loss. He's not in the lineup today -- day game after a night game -- but the update off of Friday's game is a good sign. ... Nick Punto's father Lou Punto sang the Star Spangled Banner today.
BLUE JAYS (84-76)
1. Mike McCoy, LF
2. Yunel Escobar, SS
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. John Buck, DH
8. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
9. Jose Molina, C
Starting pitcher: RH Shaun Marcum (13-8, 3.63 ERA)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Delmon Young, LF
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Jason Kubel, RF
7. Jose Morales, 1B
8. Alexi Casilla, SS
9. Drew Butera, C
Starting pitcher: LH Brian Duensing (10-3, 2.44 ERA)
Target Field. First pitch: 12:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
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