Reasons why the Twins are in this thing

1. Defense

Byron Buxton has been brilliant in center field. Joe Mauer and Jason Castro have been above average at their positions. The rest of the group has been average. Miguel Sano has been below average at third, but he’s here to hit.

2. Road warriors

Only four teams in baseball have won more games away from home than the Twins (25). That total includes three-game sweeps at Baltimore and Cleveland and two-game sweeps in Chicago and Kansas City.

3. Let it Sano

Sano, batting .276 with 21 home runs, has a shot at being the second Twin since Harmon Killebrew in 1971 to hit 40 homers in a season (Dozier hit 42 last year). He’s dedicated to improving, is not afraid to use the opposite field and knows how to make adjustments on the fly.

4. Walks

The Twins don’t have a robust offense, but they are fourth in the majors in walks. They routinely get into opposing bullpens in the middle of games, which is a good habit. But they could use a few more clutch hits to drive those runners in.

5. Jose Berrios

Without Berrios, 8-2 with a 3.53 ERA, the rotation would be only Ervin Santana, then duck. Berrios has learned to get ahead in the count, which sets up a breaking ball that is devastating at times. He also has a changeup, curveball and plenty of confidence.

La Velle E. Neal III