MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins’ postseason opponent and seeding in the American League playoff field has yet to be decided, but they do know they will be at Target Field for the best-of-three first round starting on Tuesday.
That much was decided when the Pittsburgh Pirates cruised to an 8-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night. The Twins are 24-6 at Target Field this season and 12-17 on the road. If the Twins advance, they will head to the AL tournament, which will begin with the Division Series at Petco Park in San Diego and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The Twins would have clinched the AL Central title with a victory over the Cincinnati Reds, but they also needed a loss by the White Sox. The Twins (36-23) were able to beat the Reds, rallying from a 2-0 deficit for a 7-3 victory, but the White Sox (35-24) beat the Cubs 9-5 to remain a game behind Minnesota.
If the Twins lose on Sunday and the White Sox win, Chicago will win the division based on having a better record against AL Central foes. The White Sox were 25-15 against the Central; the Twins were 23-17. The first tie-breaker is head-to-head, but the Twins and White Sox split their season series with each team winning five times.
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The Twins, for now, bumped back into the second seed in the AL and would face Cleveland in the opening round. That all could change depending on what happens Sunday. The Twins could finish anywhere between the No. 2 and No. 4 seed and could face Cleveland, the White Sox, the Yankees, Houston or Toronto.
As far as getting home field in the opening round, Baldelli said: “The first round, across the board, being a three-game series, you want everything that you can possibly have in your favor. We’re very comfortable here, we enjoy playing here at Target Field. Guys have responded very well from the very, very beginning of the year until now. So, we’ll take these games here very happily.”
The Twins had eight doubles (among 10 hits) in Saturday’s game, including three from second baseman Luis Arraez, who came off the injured list earlier in the day and hit second in order. Arraez finished 4-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs.
The Twins will play host to the Reds in their regular-season finale on Sunday at Target Field. The game will start at 2:10 p.m., which is the local time at which all MLB games will start to add intrigue to the playoff races that remain. The White Sox, meanwhile, will play host to the Cubs. Rich Hill is scheduled to start for the Twins.
Hill will not start a game in the opening round of the playoffs. Kenta Maeda will get the Game 1 assignment and be followed by Jose Berrios in Game 2 and Michael Pineda in Game 3, if necessary.