Twins Clinch 2020 MLB Playoff Spot with Win over Cubs

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2020

Minnesota Twins' Nelson Cruz celebrates his winning RB-single off Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Nick Burdi in the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

The Minnesota Twins have clinched a spot in the 2020 MLB postseason following Saturday's 8-1 win over the Chicago Cubs

The expanded playoffs will put eight teams into the postseason in each league, but the Twins should be a top contender given their 32-22 record. The top four seeds will host the best-of-three, first-round series before the American League Division Series are held in neutral sites in Southern California.

Minnesota will hope to improve upon its recent history in the playoffs.

After winning 101 games in 2019, the Twins were swept in the ALDS by the New York Yankees. Two years earlier, the team lost to the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game.

The organization has lost 16 straight playoff games overall, and it hasn't won a playoff series since reaching the AL Championship Series in 2002. The roster has turned over several times since then, but there is still a lot of anguish surrounding the fanbase.

This year's squad certainly has the talent to produce better results.

Minnesota has one of the scariest lineups in baseball, ranking third in the AL in home runs. Nelson Cruz has played like an MVP candidate with a .314 average 1.026 OPS and 16 home runs, while Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario and others can change a game with one swing.

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The pitching staff also got significant reinforcements this season, led by former Los Angeles Dodgers veterans Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill. Maeda has pitched like an ace in 2020, going 5-1 with a 2.52 ERA entering Saturday night. 

With Tyler Clippard and Tyler Duffey pitching well ahead of Taylor Rogers in the bullpen, the team has all the ingredients necessary to contend for a title.