Never before in the history of Major League Baseball has it happened. No team has ever made the playoffs down two games in the playoff race with just three games remaining. The Twins face that exact scenario as they begin their final regular season series at the Metrodome this weekend, but don’t tell the team it isn’t possible.
Before team leader Joe Mauer won his first batting title a few years ago, no American League catcher had ever accomplished such a thing. It wasn’t possible by history’s standards, but it happened, and now Mauer is three games away from a third silver bat.
It’s highly unlikely maybe that the Twins can make the improbable comeback and face New York next Wednesday in the first game of the ALDS, but for at least another day the Minnesota Twins’ season continues as more than just a countdown to the end.
When the Twins take the field against the Kansas City Royals for the last first-game of a home series under the roof, they’ll do so as contenders in the one remaining undecided division in baseball. Sure many things may need to fall into place for the improbable comeback to occur, but the chance is there.
The first thing the Twins must do to maintain their chance is win; they must win at least two games to have any hope, and there’s a good chance they’ll need to complete one final sweep at the Metrodome. The other thing? Cheer for Chicago.
There are three situations in which the Twins could have a chance, but it’ll take a strong effort against the Royals and a lot of help from the White Sox:
- To win the division with no one-game playoff, the Twins would need to sweep Kansas City and the White Sox would need to sweep Detroit at Comerica.
- To tie for the division and force a one-game playoff, the Twins would need to sweep Kansas City and the White Sox would need to win two out of three against Detroit.
- To tie for the division and force a one-game playoff, the Twins would need to win two out of three against Kansas City and the White Sox would need to sweep Detroit.
Any of the three possibilities are farfetched, but some magic in front of expected crowds of well over 40,000 fans Friday and well over 50,000 fans on Saturday and Sunday could provide a boost.
The Twins have played all season for a chance, and with three days they now have one. The team controls only part of their fate, but maybe, just maybe, there will be one more Metrodome memory worth holding on to.