Schedule favors Twins as playoff fight continues

Young outfielders Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler celebrate the Minnesota Twins' 12-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

After running the Arizona Diamondbacks out of town in a three-game sweep over the weekend, the Minnesota Twins are tied for the second wild card spot in the American League.

As the kids say, “things just got real.”

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Minnesota, winners of 11 of its last 14 games, is tied with the Angels for that spot and has a 1 1/2 game lead over the Mariners and division-rival Royals. There are five teams within five games of the Twins and Los Angeles.

It’s a tight race, but the Twins have an advantage.

They have the easiest remaining schedule in Major League Baseball.

With 40 games remaining, Minnesota plays just 13 games against teams that currently have a record over .500: seven games against the Royals, a trio of games at Yankee Stadium and three games on the road in Cleveland, where the Twins are 5-1 in 2017.

The overall winning percentage of Minnesota’s remaining opponents is .467. For reference, the Indians have the second-easiest remaining schedule in the AL with a .483 opponent winning percentage.

White Sox 47-74 .388 8
Tigers 54-69 .439 7
Blue Jays 59-65 .476 7
Royals 62-61 .504 7
Rays 61-65 .484 3
Yankees 66-57 .537 3
Indians 68-54 .557 3
Padres 55-69 .444 2

The Twins continue their late-season push with a rare five-game series on the road against the White Sox. Minnesota is 6-1 in its last seven matchups at Guaranteed Rate Field, dating back to Oct. 1, 2016. In those games, the Twins have combined for 11 home runs, 28 extra-base hits and five runs scored per game while boasting a 2.47 ERA and holding the Sox to a .189 average as a team.

Second baseman Brian Dozier is a big contributor to those numbers. In his last 21 games against Chicago, he’s recorded a .353 batting average with 10 homers, 17 RBI and a 1.203 on-base plus slugging percentage.


— The White Sox are hitting .272 as a team in August, which is 43 points higher than their team batting average in July (.229).

— Minnesota Twins’ Dillon Gee has a 5.78 ERA as a starter and a 3.03 ERA as a reliever since 2016. He will start one of the games during Monday’s doubleheader in Chicago.

— Chicago outfielder Avisail Garcia owns a .465 batting average (20/43) against the Twins this season.

Statistics courtesy STATS