Twins’ position: Oh, what a roller coaster ride it’s been heading into Friday’s regular season series finale with the Royals. The Twins were down, then they were out before finally using some good baseball and bad luck from the Indians on Thursday night to pull off victory No. 83 on the season. Couple it with a loss by the Angels in Texas and here’s where we stand: The Yankees clinched a wild card berth Thursday, leaving Houston a game ahead of the Twins and Angels for the second spot with three games to play. Texas clinched a playoff spot Thursday, too, and can wrap up the AL West Division with one more victory.
The Twins are tied with the Angels and trail Houston by one game.
Here are the Twins' chances of making the playoffs, according to FanGraphs.com.
Tie-breaker scenarios and other things to know? You can find 'em here.
Twins games remaining: 3 (all at home against the Royals)
Games to watch today: 3
Kansas City at Twins (7 p.m., FSN) Trying to inch closer to their first playoff appearance in five years, the Twins turn to Ervin Santana, one of baseball's top pitchers over the last month but who is ineligible for the postseason, as they face the banged-up Royals to start the series at Target Field. A year after finishing with the AL's second-worst record the Twins have won five of six to catch the Angels as they try to chase down that playoff berth. Trailing Houston by a game with three to play means they pretty much need to sweep the AL Central champion Royals. That’s a team whose No. 1 priority at this point is entering the playoffs healthy. Kansas City wrapped up a three-game series at the White Sox on Thursday resting outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Rios. Designated hitter Kendrys Morales and catcher Salvador Perez both left the game early. The Royals and Twins have alternated wins and losses in their last eight matchups, but Kansas City swept the last series at Target Field in June.
L.A. Angels at Texas (7 p.m., ESPN): Texas’ victory on Thursday means Anaheim will not repeat in the AL West. All the Angels can do is catch Houston and fend off the Twins for the second wild card. "We're still scratching and clawing, and trying to get into the playoffs," manager Mike Scioscia told reporters after the loss. "Your goal is still there. It might be a little harder route right now, and as of this moment we're going to need a little help." The Twins don’t want to see that happen, and instead watch Texas come out on top again. The Angels’ Jared Weaver makes his second start of the season against the Rangers on Friday night. He allowed one run on four hits in six innings in a no-decision when Texas won 2-1 on Sept. 5.
Houston at Arizona (8:40 p.m., MLB Network) The Astros head to the desert clinging to hopes that all their young talent pays off earlier than expected. And they do so reeling. Houston enters its final series of the year 11-16 since Sept. 1. However, the tools are there on the mound, stacked up and ready to go. Cy Young candidate Dallas Keuchel gets the start Friday, 18-game winner Collin McHugh on Saturday and impressive rookie Lance McCullers gets the ball in the regular season finale. A sweep guarantees the Astros the wild-card spot, but how’s this for a rotten draw: Because this weekend’s games are in Arizona they have to play under National League rules, which means designated hitter Evan Gattis takes a seat with his 27 home runs and 87 RBI on the bench. Of course, it hasn’t affected Houston. The Astros are a staggering 14-3 against the NL this season. A Diamondbacks’ sweep would be ideal.
Remaining schedule for teams in the AL wild card hunt:
Twins: Three games vs. Kansas City
Houston: Three games at Arizona
L.A. Angels vs. Texas: Three games in Arlington
Information from the Associated Press was used in this blog.