Twins weekend playoff push primer

Twins pitcher Tommy Milone will start against the Royals on Saturday. He's pitched four times against Kansas City this season with a 2-0 record, 3.75 ERA and 1.375 WHIP in 24 innings.

John Rieger/John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes this weekend — perhaps — the American League’s second wild-card spot will be decided.

Let’s just say it could be a good thing that Minnesota is playing at home while Houston and Los Angeles are on the road. Of course, if and when Texas clinches the AL West, it will be interesting to see if they juggle their rotation and/or lineup.

Here is a breakdown of this weekend’s important matchups.


— Weaver’s shoulder stiffened in last start and he last just five innings. He has reached the seventh inning just once in his last 10 starts. In his last three starts, he hasn’t been able to go six innings,

— Weaver on the road: 3-4, 6.33 ERA, 1.324 WHIP, 3.7 K/9 (at home: 4-2, 2.79, 1.153, 7.0). He has faced Texas once this season, going six innings allowing one run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

— Perez at home: 3-1, 4.71 ERA, 1.211 WHIP, 4.7 K/9 (on road: 0-5, 4.81, 1.674, 6.1), He has faced Los Angeles once this season, going six innings, allowing three runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts.

— Young on the road: 5-2, 2.64 ERA, 1.069 WHIP (at home: 6-4, 3.66, 1.119 at home). He has faced Minnesota four times this season, with two starts, with a 2-1 record, 1.62 ERA and 0.840 WHIP.

— In the second half this season, Young is 4-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.300 WHIP, compared to his first half when his numbers were 7-5, 3.00, 1.023.

— Santana at home: 2-1, 4.91 ERA, 1.445 WHIP (on the road: 5-3, 3.64, 1.244). He has faced Kansas City once this season, going eight innings allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.

— After a 7.11 ERA and 1.768 WHIP in August, he is 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA and 1.056 WHIP in September.

— A reminder that Santana is not eligible for the postseason.

— Keuchel on the road: 4-8, 3.82 ERA, 1.169 WHIP, 6.9 K/9 (at home: 15-0, 1.46, 0.889, 9.7). He has faced Arizona once this season, going six innings while allowing two runs on two hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.

— De La Rosa at home: 7-3, 4.99 ERA, 1.361 WHIP (on road: 7-5, 4.21, 1.295). He has faced Houston once this season, going six innings and allowing four runs on eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts.


— Santiago on the road: 5-7, 4.60 ERA, 1.379 WHIP (at home: 4-2, 2.65, 1.149). He has faced Texas five times this season and is 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA and 1.154 WHIP in 30 1/3 innings.

— He was an All-Star, but in the second half is 3-5 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.493 WHIP.

— Lewis at home: 8-3, 4.82 ERA, 1.222 WHIP (on road: 9-6, 4.25, 1.239). He has faced Los Angeles four times this season and is 1-3, with a 8.31 ERA and 1.800 WHIP in 21 2/3 innings.

— Ventura on the road: 5-3, 4.58 ERA, 1.370 WHIP, 7.0 K/9 (at home: 7-5, 3.84, 1.255, 9.6). He pitched once against Minnesota this season, going 5 1/3 innings allowing four runs on eight hits with five walks and eight strikeouts.

— In an up and down season, Ventura has a 4.50 ERA and 1.389 WHIP in September.

— Milone will be making his first start on regular rest since Sept. 17. He had missed 11 days with shoulder fatigue.

— Milone at home: 6-2, 4.28 ERA, 1.390 WHIP (on road: 3-3, 3.84, 1.176). He has pitched four times against Kansas City this season with a 2-0 record, 3.75 ERA and 1.375 WHIP in 24 innings.

— Milone is 4-4 with a 5.46 ERA and 1.304 in the second half. On four days’ rest this season he is 4-1 with a 4.22 ERA and 1.429 ERA.

— McHugh on the road: 6-4, 4.26 ERA, 1.333 WHIP (at home: 12-3, 3.73, 1.244). He has faced Arizona once this season, going seven innings while allowing one run on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

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— McHugh is 9-2 with a 3.27 ERA in the second half, but has a 1.319 WHIP (1.263 in the first half)

— Hellickson at home: 6-4, 3.90 ERA, 1.269 WHIP (on road: 3-7, 5.23, 1.378). In one game vs. Houston this year, he went 3 1/3 innings allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts.


— If the Angels are still in the race, they are expected to start Richards on three days’ rest. Richards has not pitched on three days’ rest this season and has done so just once in his career (in 2013).

— Richards on the road: 5-7, 4.59 ERA, 1.411 WHIP (at home: 10-4, 2.92, 1.111). He is 3-0 against Texas this season with a 2.18 ERA and 1.113 WHIP in 20 2/3 innings.

— In his six starts in Texas, Hamels has a 4.01 ERA and 1.172 WHIP with 10.1 K/9. He has not faced Los Angeles this season.

— If a playoff spot were on the line, Houston would likely start rookie Lance McCullers (6-7, 3.21).

— McCullers on the road: 2-4, 3.999 ERA, 1.243 WHIP (at home: 4-3, 2.52, 1.104). He has not pitched vs. Arizona this year.

— Ray at home: 1-6, 4.94 ERA, 1.529 WHIP (on road: 4-6, 2.49, 1.161). In one game vs. Houston this season he went five innings allowing four runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

— In the second half this season, Ray is 2-8 with a 4.42 ERA and 1.514 WHIP (compared to 3-4, 2.16, 1.020 in the first half).

— With the Royals, Cueto is 3-7 with a 4.95 ERA, 1.415 WHIP, 6.1 K/9 and, 1.2 HR/9. On the road (which includes numbers with Cincinnati and Kansas City): 4-9, 3.89 ERA, 1.167 WHIP.

— In September, Cueto is 1-4 with a 6.11 ERA, 1.642 WHIP and 5.1 K/9.

— Of course, in one game vs. Minnesota, Cueto went eight innings allowing just one run on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.

— Minnesota is expected to use either Phil Hughes or Kyle Gibson on short rest if the game matters.

— Hughes at home: 9-3, 3.87 ERA, 1.115 WHIP (on road: 2-6, 5.10, 1.463). In one game vs. K.C. this year he went 7 2/3 innings allowing three runs on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

— Gibson at home: 8-6, 3.55 ERA, 1.283 WHIP (on road: 5-6, 4.15, 1.296). He has pitched five times vs. the Royals in 2015, sporting a 2-3 record, 3.21 ERA and 1.118 WHIP in 33 2/3 innings.

— Gibson is 3-5 with a 5.22 ERA and 1.395 WHIP in the second half but has a 3.93 ERA and 1.145 in September. He has never pitched on three days’ rest.


Yes, there could be a Monday. Here are the three possible scenarios involving the Twins.

Astros at Twins. They split the season series, but Minnesota has the better divisional record so would host.

Twins at Angels. Los Angeles won the season series, 5-2, thus gets to host.

Three-way tie. This gets a bit more complicated. The Angels had best record of the three against the other two opponents and would get to choose either: 1. Host (potentially) two games at home OR play one game on the road vs. an Astros-Twins winner. So, presuming the Angels woud want to play just one game, Minnesota would play on the road against Houston (the rules for a three-way tie are different than a two-way tie), then if it wins, play at Target Field on Tuesday.

Got it?

It has been a while since October mattered in Minnesota. Enjoy the weekend.

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