As the Minnesota Twins head into the final 15 games of the season, there are still some questions that remain to be answered the rest of the way.
The Minnesota Twins are marching into the final stretch of the season, currently sitting just one game out of first place behind the Chicago White Sox. The team has looked really good recently, winning seven of their last nine.
Because of this streak and the schedule ahead, the team is currently in a good position to push the White Sox for the division crown. Regardless he team’s focus is on what lies ahead: the playoffs. Before those playoff begin, the Twins have several questions to answer the rest of the way.
Minnesota Twins Question Number 1: What will the Playoff Rotation Look Like?
In the MLB Playoffs, teams tend to go with a four-man rotation, as starters tend to go on shorter starts. The Twins will likely follow suit, but the only question is with who? Kenta Maeda is the only absolute lock at this point, as he has been the team’s undisputed ace.
After him? The team has options. Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda seem like the most likely candidates, as both have been very hot recently. It’s tough to see the Twins going against either. That would leave one final spot.
The simple answer is Randy Dobnak, who has been the second best starter for the team in 2020, but there are hesitations. Dobnak has given up 11 runs in his last 12 innings, and he doesn’t have great playoff experience, so the door is open.
Rich Hill has great playoff experience and has been solid this year, while Jake Odorizzi was an All-Star just last year, but both still have huge negatives. Dobnak has the edge, but any of the three could start that fourth game. Hopefully the Twins get that solved by the end of the season.
Minnesota Twins Question Number 2: What does the lineup look like when everyone is healthy?
So far this season, the Twins have been unable to keep healthy in 2020, and that trend is continuing, with Alex Avila, Mitch Garver, Max Kepler, and Homer Bailey all still on the IL. In their stead, Ryan Jeffers, Willians Astudillo, and Brent Rooker all have performed well offensively (Jeffers was good o both ends).
When everyone is back, this is gonna lead to some questions. Do Rooker and Jeffers hold onto some form of regular playing time? What happens to Bailey when he returns? Do Garver and Kepler regain their form? Those mini questions lead to one main one: What does this lineup look like when healthy.
I think Jeffers has to be in the lineup at this point, as only two Twins with more than 15 games have a better batting average. On top of that, his defense has been very good and the pitchers have seemed to get comfortable with him.
Astudillo likely will be sent back down, but Rooker is the biggest question. He has played well offensively, but is he ready to have a more full time role? More time playing for Rooker will clear that up, but nothing is a given.
Minnesota Twins Question No. 3: Can the bullpen recover in time?
The constant use of the bullpen in both bullpen games and in shorter starts, the bullpen’s performance has fallen off since earlier in the season, and the team has collectively struggled more.
The Twins need the bullpen at its best to make a playoff run, so something has to change now. Hopefully they can get some rest with the starters returning and can return to their best, helping the Twins to play to their best.