It was an early morning for the Twins and Tigers as the two teams met up at Comerica Park for a morning matchup. After some good pitching by both starters and some late scoring, the Minnesota Twins moved within a game of Detroit with a 3-2 victory in ten innings.
Game one of the day-night doubleheader went in the Twins’ favor, but a two-game sweep was not meant to be. Behind one of the league’s best starters, Justin Verlander, the Tigers knocked off the Twins in the night game to extend their divisional lead to two games with two remaining in the four-game series.
Leaving Detroit tied atop the American League Central will not be an easy task for the Twins, but it is possible. Should the Twins split the next two games with the Tigers, many things will need to fall into place over the weekend for them to see a playoff berth become a reality. If they can win the next two games behind Carl Pavano and Scott Baker however, they’ll enter the final regular season series with a strong chance.
Winning two games in a row in Detroit with so much on the line will take a strong effort from the starters and the offense, but the Twins will have a chance and there are reasons to be optimistic.
The Twins were able to split the doubleheader while facing the two best pitchers they will face this series. Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander are the best the Twins will face this series, and the Twins managed to score four runs against Verlander, a top-five pitcher in the league.
The next two games will feature the team’s best two pitchers: Scott Baker and Carl Pavano. Baker has been a solid pitcher since June, and Pavano is 4-0 against Detroit this season.
Eddie Bonnie and Nate Robertson aren’t pushovers, but they aren’t nearly what Verlander and Procello are. Bonine is coming off a solid outing against the White Sox and Robertson handled the Twins last weekend, but it’s better than Verlander, Porcello or Jackson in such huge games.
The ideal situation after winning the first game of the series would have been to win the second one too. Doing so would have assured the Twins of playing meaningful baseball this weekend, and more so, it would have taken a lot of pressure off the team for the final two games.
That didn’t happen however, and now the Twins are forced to win the next two games to have a great chance heading into the final series with Kansas City. Splitting in Detroit will be more of a victory for the Tigers than the Twins and the Twins would need many things to fall into place to gain two games in three days.
Anything is possible, and the Twins are still alive. It’s been a long time since two games meant so much, but now more than ever before the Twins must put together a two-game winning streak behind their top pitchers.