Into the Wild Card: Twins Killing Their Playoff Hopes?

The Major League Baseball season is often described as a marathon. That’s certainly true of the first five and a half months, but the last two weeks tend to be a mad dash to the finish where anything can –- and often does — happen. Who would have predicted the Indians would be capable of reeling off an 18-game winning streak, or that the Dodgers would drop 15 of 16 games after compiling the best 50-game record in MLB history?

Cleveland and L.A. aren’t the only teams to suddenly heat up and cool off. Arizona and Minnesota have also experienced precipitous highs and crushing lows of their own as the 2017 season comes down to the wire.

In this week’s edition of Into the Wild, we’ll examine which non-division-leading teams have risen and fallen the most over the past seven days, and set the odds they crack the playoff field.

First, though, the lay of the land …

AL PLAYOFF ODDS:
WILD-CARD CONTENDERS (SEP. 11)

  • New York Yankees: 3/7
  • Minnesota Twins: 3/2
  • Los Angeles Angels: 18/7
  • Kansas City Royals: 8/1
  • Texas Rangers: 15/1
  • Seattle Mariners: 15/1
  • Tampa Bay Rays: 19/1
  • Baltimore Orioles: 25/1
  • FIELD: 7/3

NL PLAYOFF ODDS:
WILD-CARD CONTENDERS (SEP. 11)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: 1/3
  • Colorado Rockies: 3/7
  • Milwaukee Brewers: 3/1
  • St Louis Cardinals: 3/1
  • FIELD: 19/1

UP, UP AND AWAY

Matt Carpenter pounds out a hit. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) CC License

St. Louis Cardinals: 3/1

Don’t write off the Cards just yet. St. Louis is just three games back in the NL Wild Card standings (and only two back of the Cubs in the NL Central) after winning eight of the last ten games. The final two weeks of the season will make or break Mike Matheny’s squad as they face the Cubs seven times in a pair of home-and-home series before wrapping up the year at Busch Stadium against the hard-charging Brewers. It won’t be easy, but it’s just what St. Louis needs to sneak back into the postseason for the sixth time in the past nine years.

Arizona Diamondbacks: 1/3

The D-backs can thank J.D. Martinez for their recent upswing. The Tiger transplant hit seven homers this week to power Arizona to 14v wins in their last 16 games. Martinez now has 48 dingers on the year and has Arizona primed to return to the postseason for the first time since 2011.

New York Yankees: 3/7

New York stopped whining about stolen signs just long enough to put together a pretty decent streak. The Yanks have won seven of their last ten games and are still holding onto a 3.5-game lead in the AL Wild Card standings with 20 games remaining. New York looked especially dominant in Sunday’s 16-7 thrashing of Texas. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez each hit a pair of dingers and the Baby Bombers put together 18 hits to make up for a lacklustre outing for Jordan Montgomery. Pitching is still a concern, but hitting like that will help erase a whole lot of mistakes.

DOWN WE GO

Joe Mauer heads back to the dugout. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) CC License

Minnesota Twins: 3/2

The Minnesota Twins picked a bad week to go into a tailspin. The Twinkies have dropped six of their last ten games, while the division-leading wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwindians have gone on an improbable 18-game winning streak. The Tribe’s hot streak has given them a 13-game lead and they’re showing no signs of slowing down as they gear up for their second consecutive postseason appearance. Minnesota is still holding onto the second Wild Card spot, but their one-game lead over the Angels looks more tenuous than ever.

Miami Marlins: 99/1

It might be time for Derek Jeter to dust off his spikes. The Marlins’ new minority owner just witnessed his team drop eight of ten, including a pair of extra-inning heartbreakers to Philadelphia and Atlanta. Miami wasn’t expected to contend for a playoff spot this season, but their recent spiral is particularly disheartening after they were within striking distance of a Wild Card spot for most of August. Floridians could use some good news in the wake of Hurricane Irma, but they’re unlikely to get it from the Marlins.

Pittsburgh Pirates: 100/1

Time to prepare a eulogy for Pittsburgh’s 2017 season. Losers of their last five straight, the Pirates have now fallen 11 games back in the NL Wild Card race and are days away from being mathematically eliminated from the postseason. It’s a rough way to end the season, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Bucs this year. Pint-sized slugger Josh Harrison emerged as one of the team’s best -– and most electrifying -– players, and Josh Bell, who put up 24 home runs and 83 RBIs in his first full year with the club, would be a Rookie of the Year contender if not for Cody Bellinger.

Darren Myers

Darren Myers can list all 35 members of the Miracle Mets, knows every word to Casey at the Bat, and remembers exactly where he was when Michael Jordan scored 63 points against the Celtics in the Boston Garden. Unfortunately, he has no idea where he left his house keys. If you happen to find them please contact him immediately as it's starting to get dark and he's pretty sure he just heard something howl.