The Minnesota Twins are on the verge of making history, poised to become the first team in history to advance to the postseason one year after losing 100 games. Owning a magic number of one, the Twins can punch their ticket to the playoffs when they continue their three-game series at the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.
Minnesota owns a five-game lead with five to play for the second wild card and needs one win or a loss by the Los Angeles Angels to complete its stunning turnaround and reach the postseason for the first time since 2010. The Twins rallied for an 8-6 victory in the series opener, going ahead on Brian Dozier’s three-run homer in the eighth inning to hand Cleveland just its third loss in 32 games. Indians designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion has four homers and 14 RBIs over his last nine games after going deep and driving in four runs in Tuesday’s loss. While Cleveland already has wrapped up a division title, it holds a one-game edge over Houston for home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), STO (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins LH Adalberto Mejía (4-6, 4.48 ERA) vs. Indians RH Danny Salazar (5-6, 4.48)
Mejia has not won since July 3 and failed to pitch beyond five innings for the sixth consecutive start last time out when he permitted one run over 4 2/3 innings of a no-decision at Detroit. He was reached for 10 runs over 10 innings in his previous three turns and is 0-3 in his last eight outings. Mejia won at Cleveland on June 23, overcoming five walks in five scoreless innings of two-hit ball.
Moved to the bullpen earlier this month after returning from the disabled list, Salazar received a start last time out and struck out four while allowing one run and two hits over 2 2/3 innings. This will be another audition to determine what his role will be for the postseason. Salazar dominated the Twins in Minnesota on Aug. 15, striking out 10 and giving up one run on three hits across seven innings.
1. Twins CF Byron Buxton stole his 23rd consecutive base Tuesday to set a Twins record.
2. Encarnacion is the fifth player in franchise history with at least 100 RBIs and 100 walks in the same season.
3. Twins LF Eddie Rosario is 6-for-12 with a homer, three doubles and five RBIs in the past three games.
PREDICTION: Indians 7, Twins 5