Minnesota Twins: 3 Things Twins Fans can root for in the 2020 Fall Classic

The Minnesota Twins celebrate being the American League Central Division Champions after the game against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
The Minnesota Twins celebrate being the American League Central Division Champions after the game against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Although the Minnesota Twins won’t be competing in the 2020 World Series, there is still a lot for Twins fans to root for in this year’s Fall Classic.

The 2020 MLB Postseason seemed hopeful for many Minnesota Twins fans, as their team was going into a newly introduced playoff format where they wouldn’t have to face the New York Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.

Instead, they faced the most hated team in baseball, the Houston Astros, and fell flat on their face, continuing their 18 game losing streak in the playoffs, the worst losing streak in North American professional sports history.

With that being said, Twins fans can be thankful that Houston will not be making their third trip to the World Series in four years, thanks to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays will be matching up against the Los Angeles Dodgers for one of the more unique World Series matchups baseball has ever seen.

This is a good thing for Minnesota sports fans. There’s a lot to root for in a series with two teams that have a bit of a feel-good storyline (in different ways) Here are some things for Twins fans to cheer for the 2020 World Series.

The Small-Market Rays are the American League Champions

Tampa beating Houston in the American League Championship Series 4-3 was a fantastic outcome for Twins fans for two reasons:

  • The team got to see the team that beat them 2-0 out of the playoffs.
  • It was a great victory for millions of baseball fans that have been scolding the Astros for cheating to get their 2017 World Series title and receiving little punishment from MLB because of it.

Losing to the Rays in the ALCS was exactly what MLB fans needed to ensure the Astros wouldn’t get another chance at a title. As badly as some Dodger players and fans would have wanted the 2017 rematch, the Rays represent the American League style of play much more suitable to showcase in this year’s World Series.

Four former Twins will be playing in this World Series

Three of the former Minnesota Twins in this World Series play for the Rays, but even so these are three players who have found themselves as stronger players to finally get their chance to play on baseball’s biggest stage.

The three Rays relievers; Aaron Slegers, John Curtiss, and Oliver Drake, have fit into the Rays unique bullpen and all could see at least one appearance in a game, especially if this World Series goes to a game seven.

Slegers had a couple cups of coffee with the Twins making his debut in August of 2017 and pitching four games with Minnesota in 2018. Slegers never had the opportunity with the Twins in the major’s to find his role in their rotation as a starter or reliever. With Tampa, Slegers has suited himself in their bullpen, making 11 appearances during the regular season posting a 3.46 earned run average, and three appearances this postseason posting a 1.80 ERA.

Curtiss’ time with the Minnesota Twins was much similar to that of Slegers. Although Slegers was tried out as a starter when he got called up to the Twins in 2017, Curtiss was a callup that went straight to the bullpen when he debuted in late August of 2017.

Curtiss made a total of 17 relief appearances for the Twins between 2017 and 18 and he made one appearance with the Los Angeles Angels in all of 2019.2020 finally brought about full time service for Curtiss with the Tampa Bay Rays as he dominated in their bullpen during the short regular season, making 17 appearances and posting a 1.80 earned run average.

This postseason has not been as good for Curtiss as the regular season, but still something to be proud of. Curtiss did struggle in the ALDS against the Yankees bats, but redeemed himself from those performances during the ALCS posting a 2.08 ERA against the Astros in four relief appearances.

Finally, there is Oliver Drake, who has had one of the most unique careers in baseball. In 2018, Drake became the first player ever to play for five different teams in one season, the last of those teams being the Minnesota Twins.

Ending his five team journey with the Twins in 2018 proved to be a fruitful time for him, as he became one of the more frequently used relievers in the Twins bullpen during the last stretch of that season. Drake pitched in 19 games for the Twins posting a 2.21 ERA and striking out 22 batters in those appearances.

Since then, he has been with Tampa and has been one of their more frequently used relievers. This postseason, Drake has only appeared in one game against the Yankees in the ALDS, but that does not eliminate the chance he could be making a relief appearance in the World Series

On the Dodgers side, their is of course Brusdar Graterol, the former Twins top prospect who was shipped to the Dodgers for Kenta Maeda, one of the few trades that can truly be considered a win-win for both sides, as Graterol has been a bullpen ace for the Dodgers in the regular season and most of the postseason while Maeda turned into a legit ace for the Twins.

Clayton Kershaw finally winning a World Series ring

Minnesota Twins fans can relate to the Dodgers ace in having longtime, Hall of Fame-worthy players that had chances of winning a World Series, but never got the ring. Those players of course being Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, and Joe Mauer to name a few.

Clayton Kershaw still has a chance to add a World Series title to his impressive career resume that includes three Cy Young awards, five ERA titles, eight all star appearances, a pitching triple crown and an MVP.

Although many joke about Kershaw not having the same success in the postseason that he has had in the regular season, Kershaw is still arguably one of the best left-handed pitchers the game has had in the past 20 years, and a player like that is certainly worthy of winning a World Series.

It is a devastation that the Minnesota Twins will be continuing their World Series drought into 2021, but even without being in this years World Series, there are still some things or some players Twins fans can find to cheer in for the 2020 World Series.

Next. Minnesota Twins: Handing out Grades for the Bullpen. dark