One underrated factor in the Twins’ chances of holding off Cleveland over the season’s final seven weeks: the schedule.
The Twins entered Saturday with a 26-30 record against teams that currently have .500 records or better, and 44-16 against opponents with losing records. That’s similar to the Indians’ success — Cleveland entered Saturday 20-24 against winning teams, 50-22 against losing teams, with a whopping 23-3 advantage against Detroit, Seattle and Toronto.
But here’s a big difference: The Twins have a lot more games left against their division’s bottom-feeders.
The Twins have 26 games left against Chicago, Kansas City and Detroit, including their final 13 games of the season (three at home vs. the White Sox, four at home vs. the Royals, three at Detroit, three at Kansas City). Cleveland has only 16 such games, and the Indians’ final two weeks include Philadelphia and Washington, teams that could be fighting for playoff spots.
The Indians have 26 games left against teams with winning records, 17 of them on the road. Next weekend, they spend seven days in New York playing both the first-place Yankees and red-hot Mets.
The Twins have only 19 games against good teams, a dozen away from Target Field, and none against teams (other than Cleveland) with better records than theirs. After Sunday’s series finale, the Twins play six of those next week, with two games at Milwaukee and four at Texas, which is 58-58 after losing Saturday to the Brewers.
Their remaining 12 games against winning teams come in a row, beginning Sept. 6 at Boston. The Twins play three games at Fenway, then come home for three more with the Indians, then play host to Washington for three games, then visit Cleveland Sept. 13-15 — the only three road games in a 16-game stretch.