Twins’ position: Ouch. There’s no better way to react to Friday night’s crushing loss. The Twins remain 1.5 games behind Houston for the final American League wild card spot. But after losing a 4-1 lead late thanks to their All-Star reliever the Twins allowed the Angels to leapfrog them in the standings. Los Angeles is now just a half-game back of the suddenly self-destructing Astros.
Twins games remaining: 9 (3 home, 6 road)
Games to watch today: 3
Texas at Houston (12:05 p.m., Ch. 9): What has happened to the Astros? Twins fans don’t really care, they just know whatever it is, it’s left the door a smidge open. And the bleeding doesn’t figure to end soon. Houston is 3-7 in its last 10 games (ahem, same as the Twins) which has allowed Texas to open up a 4.5 game lead in the AL West. Houston has Collin McHugh on the mound Saturday (17-7, 3.93 ERA) but faces uncertainty in the batting order after Jose Altuve took a forearm to the face tracking a fly ball Friday night. If the Rangers want to increase their division lead (and make a few friends up I-35) Derek Holland will have to be better Saturday afternoon. He did not get a decision when he opposed McHugh last week, allowing five runs and a season-high 10 hits over 5.2 innings. He's 3-2 with a 4.10 ERA in nine starts versus Houston.
Twins at Detroit (6:08 p.m., FSN): Gut check time. Comerica Park hasn’t been kind to the Twins (uh, remember the first three games of the season?) and Friday night was the latest example. So how will Minnesota respond? The Twins’ biggest second-half surprise, Tyler Duffey, takes the mound against Alfredo Simon. Duffey has a 2.19 ERA this month including a seven-strikeout gem against the Tigers on Sept. 14. Since a rough debut Aug. 5, the righthander is 4-0 with a 2.06 ERA in seven starts. His best came Sunday in an 8-1 home win over the Angels. So confidence is high, and that’s good news for a Twins fan base aching for some good news.
Seattle at L.A. Angels (8:05 p.m., MLB Network): Two sides of the coin for this one, Twins fans. Good news: Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is good to go despite a stiff throwing elbow that shortened his outing last weekend. He’s got some incentive, too. With a win Saturday and another in his likely last start of the season next week Hernandez will reach 20 wins for the first time in his career. Bad news: The Angels have a chance to move into a playoff spot Saturday and have a couple of guys named Mike Trout and Albert Pujols who have combined to hit 60 home runs off righthanders this season. Trout has four career home runs off Hernandez. Pujols, though, has just one.
Remaining schedule for teams in the AL wild card hunt:
Information from the Associated Press was used in this blog