No team in Major League Baseball history has been as successful as our 2020 Hypothetical Twins. Racking up an asinine 120-42 regular season record and winning the AL Central by 31 games, expectations are World Series win or bust in the Twin Cities.
Whether it was our league-record 27-straight wins to Arraez winning the batting title, Buxton stealing over 100 bags, or the f-ton of Bombas we hit, there has been a precedent for success set.
But things can turn on a dime in the playoffs. As there is minimal margin of error and MLB may switch the juiced balls out on your favorite team so they lose to the god damn Yankees again…
I digress. We face our division rival Cleveland in the ALDS. And with home-field advantage we will definitely need it as we had an 8-11 record against the Tribe in the regular season.
Game 1: Jose Berrios vs. Mike Clevinger
While Odorizzi may have been the best overall starter for us this year, there is no denying the ace Berrios has turned himself into. So I gave him the nod just like Opening Day all the way back in March.
Leading the Majors with 19 wins (8 losses) and a 3.36 ERA with 212 Ks could be enough to shut the Indians down at home. This is important because Berrios may start Game 5 if the series extends that long. But we also have a deep starting rotation with some members even playing long relief roles.
Berrios did not fare well against the Yankees in last year’s Game 1 ALDS in Yankee Stadium. Failing to go further than four innings in a loss…but the defense was also to blame. Hopefully a year of focus and development has helped him.
Nothing phased Berrios in this game though. Throwing seven innings, striking out nine, and surrendering only one run. Truly an ace performance. As for the offense, they made life easy. Scoring two runs in each of the first three innings en route to a 9-1 win.
Score: Twins 9 – Indians 1
Game 2: Kenta Maeda vs. Carlos Carrasco
One would think Odo would be here, but you’re wrong again! I had a change of heart and had to throw the sizzling Maeken in for Game 2.
After going 17-5 in 33 starts with a 3.58 ERA and a 140 ERA+, I had to give the nod to Maeda. But it didn’t pay off exactly how I thought.
The offense left off right where they were in Game 1. Absolutely pummeling the Indians for six runs in the first. Four of which came off the bat of Mitch Garver and a 464-foot grand slam. Up 6-0, Maeda strolled through the first four innings allowing only one run. But as I said, it didn’t pay off to the extent that I thought. Giving up four runs in the fifth including a two-run Jonathan Villar bomb.
But we kept the Indians just out of reach thanks to another Garver bomb and Lynn and Rogers holding the lead.
Score: Twins 9 – Indians 7
Game 3: Jake Odorizzi vs. Shane Bieber
Now this is a matchup! Odorizzi had an even better 2020 than 2019. Going 15-2 with a 3.07 ERA. The first away game of the playoffs is the perfect scenario to put him in. Even leading the league in innings at 217 while also posting an amazing 163 ERA+ and 219 K.
It was messy early. Although we scored two thanks to a Kirilloff triple, the Indians rallied for five in the bottom of the second to go up 5-2. With three of them coming off a three-run blast from Jose Ramirez. I immediately pulled Odorizzi after that. So I was right that I did not want him starting Games 1 or 2, but wrong in thinking he could handle the pressure.
It would remain 5-2 until the sixth, when we tied it up thanks to a slew of singles from Cruz, Kirilloff, Buxton, and Polanco. But the floodgates were open. Scoring twice in the seventh and eighth and then adding a three-run Garver Bomba in the ninth for good measure.
Garver was the series MVP after hitting three homers and driving in nine and scoring seven times. All while batting an even .500.
Your Twins are going to the ALCS!
We will face the Angels in the best-of-seven ALCS. Winning all of our games against them (7-0) was excellent, but this is the postseason we are talking about. Anything can happen.