First comes the disclaimer: We know that Twins fans are unsettled right now. A string of injuries has popped up, Jose Berrios has pitched more like Ricky Nolasco than a staff ace and Minnesota sports fans have been conditioned to expect the worst outcomes from the best situations. The Minneapolis Miracle gets followed by an NFC Championship Game blowout. The Wild turns promising seasons into playoff disasters. The Lynx go from WNBA champions to a first-round playoff knockout. The Timberwolves keep on Timberwolfing.
Yes, times are tough right now with the Twins' injuries and uncertainties. But here are a few things that should bring you some good cheer about the Twins as they enter the last 2 1/2 weeks before baseball's postseason.
1. The Twins have an 88-55 record and 19 games to play. If the Twins go 9-10 in those games, second-place Cleveland (84-61) needs to go 14-3 to overtake them. If the Twins go 12-7, Cleveland needs to go undefeated. If the Twins go 7-12, Cleveland still needs to go 12-5 -- in other words winning more than two of every three of its remaining games.
2. The schedule favors the Twins after this week. Once the Twins get through with Washington and Cleveland this week, they'll have 13 games left -- three against Chicago, three against Detroit and seven against Kansas City. Combined, those three teams are currently 113 games under .500. In addition to three games against Detroit and Chicago, Cleveland will play three against Philadelphia and finish the season with three at Washington. Both the Phillies and Nationals are fighting for Wild Card spots in the National League.
3. Brad Hand, the Cleveland closer, has been beyond bad. He struggled through the ninth inning to get a save against the Twins on Sunday and, in the last month, has a 9.00 ERA. He's given up 17 hits and five walks in nine innings during that stretch -- and opposing batters have a 1.110 OPS against him. In other words, every batter who faces Hand is a potential Christian Yelich, the Brewers star who leads MLB with a 1.102 OPS.
4. if you'd rather watch video than swallow more statistics, here's the video that reliever Sergio Romo's entry music comes from. The group is Banda MS, which played at Aldrich Arena earlier this year, and the song is El Mechon. (Who else wants one of those matching yellow jackets? And does anyone have video of the time when the trombone player fell off the stage during El Mechon?) Volume up, headphones on, please.
5. The October calendar. More years than not in the last decade, Twins fans had little reason to look at the postseason schedule. Here it is, for guidance is party planning, class skipping and any other way you choose to use it.
Really, we understand if you're sweating and fretting these final few weeks. We're just trying to distract you a bit.