The Twins will be headed to a playoff bubble in October, assuming they win a best-of-three wild card series that most likely will be played at Target Field.
That became official Tuesday as Major League Baseball set a postseason schedule that will go to a neutral-site format in order to have a bubble atmosphere similar to what the NHL and NBA have done to try to get through their postseason during the coronavirus pandemic. The WNBA also used a bubble format to play its regular season and will continue to use it for the postseason. MLB is playing only a 60-game regular-season schedule this summer because of COVID-19, meaning the Twins entered Tuesday with only 11 regular-season games left.
The World Series will be held at the Rangers’ Globe Life Field — the first-year stadium in Arlington, Texas, has a retractable roof — and will start on Tuesday, Oct. 20. It would end no later than Wednesday, Oct. 28, with Game 7. The best-of-five American League Division Series’ will be played in San Diego and Los Angeles, while the NL will use Arlington and Houston.
The Twins (30-19) entered their game against the White Sox on Tuesday in Chicago in second place in the AL Central. That put them in the fourth seed among the eight AL teams that will make the playoffs and would have them matching up against Toronto (26-20) in the wild card round. The fact the Twins are the higher seed would put the three games at Target Field starting on Tuesday, Sept. 29. That might not seem like a big deal considering no fans are being allowed into games, but the Twins are 21-5 at home and 9-14 on the road this season.
The ALDS are both scheduled to run from Monday, Oct. 5 through Friday, Oct. 9. The winner of the 1 versus 8 match-up in the American League will face the 4 versus 5 winner at Petco Park in San Diego, while the winners of the 2 versus 7 and 3 versus 6 match-ups will play at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The best-of-seven American League Championship Series will be played in San Diego starting on Sunday, Oct. 11. The NLCS will be in Arlington and start on Monday, Oct. 12.
The opening round, Division Series and LCS won’t have any off days between games, in part because there will be no travel involved. But there will be at least one day off before each series. This figures to be an issue when it comes to starting pitchers and bullpen usage. The two off days that are normally part of the World Series were not eliminated.