Sports Specs with Sam

Minnesota Twins swept out of the playoffs by Houston, losing their 17th and 18th straight postseason games

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In a familiar sight for anyone who has followed the team for the past two decades, the Minnesota Twins had a weak performance in the playoffs again this year.

Minnesota was knocked out of the playoffs by the Houston Astros in two games this past week during the expanded Wildcard Round in this year’s altered playoff format.

Minnesota won the American League Central Division for the second year in a row as they beat out the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox by one game.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball chose to expand the playoffs this year for an unusually short 60-game season.

This gave the Houston Astros, who finished the regular season with a losing record of 29-31, an opportunity against the Twins in this three-game playoff.

Despite their regular season record, Minnesota knew Houston would be no pushover, as their lineup is still filled with seasoned hitters with postseason experience most of whom happened to have a poor regular season at the plate and a talented pitching staff.

However, Minnesota came into the series as heavy favorites and even though this playoff format meant anything could happen. There is no excuse for how poor the team looked at the plate in these two games.

Minnesota only managed to score one run in each of the two games both knocked in by veteran slugger Nelson Cruz falling 4-1 in the first game and 3-1 in the second.

Minnesota’s lineup was not nearly as good this season, though it would have been almost impossible for them to replicate their record breaking power numbers from last year.

Minnesota saw many players regress significantly in the lineup this year, including Mitch Garver, who looked like one of the best offensive catchers in the game last season and Jorge Polanco, who looked lost at the plate this season after being an All-Star Game starter last year.

Max Kepler also looked lost at the plate for several parts of the season and even Nelson Cruz regressed in the second half of the season after getting off to a hot start.

Minnesota’s pitching was the strength of the team this season, as the addition of Kenta Maeda bolstered their starting rotation and their bullpen was consistently good.

Minnesota being a no-show in the playoffs is not a new occurrence, as the franchise has lost 18 straight postseason games an American professional sports record and hasn’t won a playoff series since 2002.

However, they have had two strong seasons in a row and they need to consider being aggressive this offseason to keep up in a division that may not be theirs to dominate much longer.

The Chicago White Sox improved mightily this season and have young talent on both the pitching and the hitting side.

Minnesota should consider acquiring another dangerous bat this offseason and hope last year’s big addition, Josh Donaldson, is able to stay healthy next year.

They could also afford to acquire one more good starting pitcher since Michael Pineda is not getting any younger and the bottom half of the rotation could get a little shaky.

In the end, any good team could have lost a three-game series in this year’s unusual MLB postseason, but it was a disappointing display that the Twins’ lineup was a complete no-show in the playoffs for a second year in a row.

Janssen can be reached at [email protected]