The Twins dropped two of three games to Toronto at Target Field in May.
They were beaten 3-1 by Kevin Gausman and 3-0 by José Berríos.
Gausman will start today's playoff game at Target Field, and Berríos will pitch tomorrow.
And that is why the Twins will win both games and move on to the next round of the postseason.
The Twins were 12-15 in May, during a time when their offense was unwatchable. Since that series, the Twins' offense has evolved. Royce Lewis, who will DH and hit third today, was still on the injured list at the time. Alex Kirilloff, Edouard Julien and Matt Wallner all flashed in that Toronto series, with Wallner reaching base in eight consecutive plate appearances.
All three have continued to develop since then. The Twins took two of three in Toronto about a month later, with a healthy Lewis going 4-for-4 in one of the games.
I wrote in Sunday's paper that the Twins' offensive woes have been a staple of their 18-game postseason losing streak. They have the bats this year to hit good pitching and change that. Two more reasons for optimism on offense:
— After losing to Gausman in May, the next time they saw him, in June, they had success, tagging him for six earned runs.
— The Twins draw walks. And they've learned how to use their speed when needed. Look for manager Rocco Baldelli to manufacture runs late in these games.
The Twins have one of the best 1-2 punches in the postseason in righthanders Pablo López and Sonny Gray. The significant development has been the recent bullpen reconstruction. Brock Stewart is healthy. Louie Varland and Chris Paddack are starters subbing as relievers. Now the Twins can use Emilio Pagán, Caleb Thielbar and Griffin Jax in the fifth, sixth or seventh innings while having the 95-99 mph guys to finish up.
Toronto has a higher on-base-plus-slugging percentage against lefthanded pitchers than righthanders. Cody Funderburk, who made the postseason roster, can help against lefties. But I'll take Stewart throwing nasty 98 mph funk instead of a finesse lefty in a late-inning situation.
I believe the combination of an improved Twins offense and the renovated bullpen will allow the Twins to win both Games 1 and 2 and move on to the next round of the postseason.