MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins will celebrate their fans this weekend at Target Field with prizes and giveaways for Fan Appreciation Weekend. However, it’s not likely they’ll get a chance to celebrate in front of their fans this weekend.
Instead, it appears like the American League Central Division clincher for the Twins, baseball’s best road team, will somewhat fittingly come on the road. The Twins have a magic number of six after beating the Royals on Thursday night, Sept. 19. That number decreases by one with every Twins win and every Indians loss, meaning in order to clinch at home, the Twins would have to sweep the Royals and the Indians would have to be swept by the Phillies.
After a home series against the Royals this weekend, the Twins head off for Detroit and Kansas City for six games to finish out their season. At this point, it seems likely the clinch date could come in Detroit.
While the Twins’ chances of winning the division is north of 98 percent per FanGraphs, many of them don’t want to acknowledge it until they’ve sealed their fate.
Their potential first-round opponent is still up in the air, too. The Twins trail both the Yankees and the Astros in the standings and appear poised to start the American League Division Series on the road. The Twins will play the team with the worse record of the two, while the team with the better record will face the winner of the wild card game. The Astros are currently ahead of the Yankees by a half-game.
“Those are two really good teams along with us. Our goal is to get in, and whoever we play is whoever we’re going to play, but you can’t get picky when it comes to making the playoffs,” pitcher Jake Odorizzi said. “It’s a huge honor to be a playoff team and win a division. That’s our goal, and whoever we’re going to match up with if we attain that goal, is really all that matters.”
Minor league tidbits
Twins top prospect Royce Lewis had a strong Arizona Fall League debut on Thursday, going 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. Lewis played third base in that game. Lewis, drafted as a shortstop, started in center field on Thursday night in Arizona.
MLB Pipeline named Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic as the organization’s hitting and pitching prospects of the year.
Larnach, the team’s first-round pick in 2018, finished the year slashing .309/.384/.458 between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. He was named the Florida State League’s Player of the Year in August.
Balazovic’s strong season earned him to an invite to the Futures Game. Between Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers, he posted a 2.69 ERA in 93 2/3 innings pitched while striking out 129.
With a three-run home run in the third inning Thursday, Nelson Cruz reached the 100 RBI mark for the fourth time in his career. The home run also helped the Twins set another offensive record, as they surpassed 877 runs, which was the previous team record for runs scored in a season and was set in 1996. Two Washington Senators teams (1930, 1936) have scored more.