The 2015 Twins are not a particularly outstanding team. Their record (78-73) is too close to .500 for that. But they have a resilience that seems noteworthy.
After they were swept in Saturday's doubleheader, I had (again) essentially written them off as a playoff contender. Three wins-in-a-row later, they are, in the cliche phrase, in control of their own destiny. Win them all, they win a wild card spot.
Yes, they're a game out of the second wild card. But they are tied with Houston in the loss column, and that's the crucial factor. If the Twins win out, and the Astros win out, they will finish the schedule dead even -- and go to a game 163.
The odds of them winning out are, of course, incredibly thin, but they don't have to. They will have to win a lot, however. And the more whoever gets that second wild-card wins, the less pedestrian their record will be.
Let's put the remaining schedules for the wild card contenders on the record. I'll include the Rangers, in first place in the West, because much of their remaining schedule is against the Astros and the Angels. One of those teams could catch them for the division crown, which would leave them in the WC picture.
The Twins have 11 games to play. They finish their homestand today with Cleveland, Then it's off to Detroit for three games Friday-Sunday and to Cleveland for four. They finish at home with three games against the Royals.
Houston (nine games to play) is off today. They are home against the Texas Rangers this weekend for three games, then hit the road for three games at Seattle and three games at Arizona.
Anaheim (10) is off today. They are home for three games against Seattle and three games against Oakland, then finish with four games at Texas.
Texas (10) finishes its series at Oakland today, then travels to Houston for three games before returning home for three against Detroit and four against the Angels.
Baltimore is three games behind the Twins, Cleveland 3.5 back. I'll not bother with their schedules. Nor will I bother looking at the Yankees, who are four games ahead of the Astros. If the Yanks come back to the pack, great, but I'll let them actually do so before I start thinking about them.
A belated note on Yogi Berra, since I had a couple of people ask me about it yesterday. The Hanna-Barbara animated cartoon character was dubbed in the ballplayer's honor, not the other way around. Berra had been known as "Yogi" from childhood after a pal saw him sitting crosslegged "like a yogi." The cartoon character debuted in 1958, by which time Berra had won his three MVPs.
The initial Associated Press bulletin on Berra's death Thursday morning identified him as "Yogi Bear." Ah, the curse of becoming such a cultural icon that cartoon characters swipe your name.