With only a dozen games left until the regular season, here are four things for Twins fans to think about, in addition to the fact that the Wild Card game is scheduled for two weeks from today.
Comparing schedules: The race for the second Wild Card spot has pretty much become a two-team race between the Twins and Los Angeles. The Angels open a three-game series tonight against Cleveland then play three games over the weekend at Houston. Both of those teams have clinched their division title, but are playing for extra home games by trying to finish with the best record in the American League.
Cleveland currently leads the Astros by 1 1/2 games for the best record. Neither team is likely to catch the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best overall record in the majors, though. Twins fans should be rooting for Houston to keep its hopes for the best record alive until the weekend so the Astros will have reason to go 100 percent against the Angels.
The Angels have an easier final week against the White Sox and Mariners, while the Twins will be playing at Cleveland and at Target Field against Detroit.0 .Seven of the Twins' final 12 games are against Detroit, which holds a 7-5 advantage over Minnesota despite its subpar season.
Postseason projections: Fangraphs currently gives the Twins a 69.2 percent chance of reaching the Wild Card game compared with 25.5 percent for the Angels. In other words, that's almost 7 in 10 for Minnesota and 1 in 4 for the Angels. If you play poker or blackjack, you know that 7 in 10 looks good but is hardly a guarantee, right? Baseball Prospectus puts the Twins' chances at 67.4 percent and the Angels at 25.2.
What were the Twins' playoff chances on August 1, after their week of despair at Dodger Stadium and Oakland? They were 4.4 percent. If you want to trace the odds throughout the season, here's a chart from Baseball Prospectus.
Big days in October: The American League Wild Card game is schedules for Tuesday, October 3, which could be followed the next night by Game 5 of the WNBA Finals and the next by the opening game of the American League Divisional Series, which is set for the same night the Wild opens the NHL regular season at Detroit. (The Wolves would start off that sporting Thursday with a 1 a.m. game against the Golden State Warriors in China.) We'll spare you the weekend schedule, but let you know (for planning purposes) that Game 4 of the AL Divisional Series, if needed, is set for Monday, October 9. The Vikings play at Chicago that night, too.
Want to go down a rabbit hole? Here are baseball's postseason tie-breaker rules.