Twins fans hope to avoid starting playoffs with Yankees

HIBBING — Let’s see, I could go on about the Minnesota Vikings, but I’d just be wasting my breath.

So let’s talk about the Minnesota Twins, one team that has kind of figured out how to win.

The Twins will have one game left in the regular season when this column runs, but here’s hoping Minnesota wins the Central Division.

As of last week, fans of the Twins were going to realize their worst nightmare — playing the New York Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.

We all know Minnesota’s history when it comes to the postseason.

The Twins have lost 16-straight postseason games, 13 against the dreaded Yankees and three against the Oakland Athletics.

The way the playoffs work this season is the fourth and fifth seeds will square off in a best-of-three series.

Last week, the Twins were fourth and the New York fifth, which fit perfectly into New York’s hands.

The higher seed will get all three games at home, and Minnesota was one game up on the Yankees, so that might have helped.

That’s when the Twins put together a nice run of wins over Detroit to put some space between them and New York.

As of Friday night, Minnesota was three games ahead of the Yankees, and only one up on the White Sox.

Unless Minnesota has an epic collapse against the Cincinnati Reds, the Twins should get home-field advantage in the first round, no matter who they play.

Winning the Central Division would be ideal, but home-field advantage isn’t going to matter after the first round.

The rest of the playoffs will be played in a bubble in California and Texas.

Nobody will have home-field advantage in those games, especially with no fans in the stands. That’s a positive.

The top two teams in each division, and two wild card teams will make the playoffs.

Looking around the league, Tampa Bay should win the East Division, with the Yankee second. Minnesota and Chicago should come out of the Central Division, and Oakland and Houston should come out of the West.

Cleveland and Toronto will be the wild-card teams.

Of course, if the Twins falter, Chicago and the Indians could pass them in the division, so it would be nice if Minnesota would win at least two games against the Reds, if not all three.

As I look at these teams, Houston won’t have Justin Verlander, and Garrit Cole is in New York. The Astros’ pitching staff isn’t as intimidating as it once was, but their lineup is still good.

I don’t know anything about the Athletics, Blue Jays and Rays, but I’m sure we can compete with them, along with the White Sox and Cleveland.

Why not play the Yankees and exorcise those demons. That would be ideal.

Minnesota could do that because it has a pitching staff that can compete in the playoffs.

Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, and Michael Pineda are a solid three starters, not like last year when we had to use a bullpen-by-committee in the first round. If Jake Odorizzi gets healthy, I’d take my chances with him. That’s four solid starters. Game on.

I don’t want to get fooled again by saying the Twins have a good shot this year to make it to the World Series, but why not them?

Home runs come at a premium in the playoffs, so Minnesota will have to find a way to score by other means than the long ball.

If the Twins continue to hit home runs, that’s icing on the cake.

It’s going to be an interesting postseason.

As for the Vikings....

Stay safe.

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