One long playoff streak has been broken, but the Minnesota Twins have another one they'd like to break on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.
Minnesota snapped a miserable 18-game playoff losing streak in Game 1 of the AL Wild Card, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 behing two monster home runs from Royce Lewis. Pablo Lopez secured the first win for a Twins pitcher in the postseason since Johan Santana back in 2004, and everything about the team looked different from what we've seen in the past.
The work is only just beginning, though.
Not only do the Twins need to win eight more games to get to the World Series, the team is looking to snap an even longer streak than the one that was oblitereated on Tuesday. Not since 2002 have the Twins won a playoff series, something that could end today if things keep going their way.
Minnesota's last postseason series victory came in the ALDS over two deades ago, beating the Oakland A's in what was the first of a string of playoff runs for the team. We all know how those ended up going, but that streak is finally dead and the Twins are hungry to end another.
Minnesota Twins lineup for AL Wild Card Game 2 (October 4, 2023)
Rocco Badelli is running with essentially the same lineup as the one he used in Game 1. The only difference is Matt Wallner and Ryan Jeffers are switching spots in the batting order, but other than that everything remains the same.
Sonny Gray will be on the mound for the Twins, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Pablo Lopez's fantastic start yesterday. Gray could have gotten then ball for Game 1, and is likley going to finish second in AL Cy Young voting after one of the best seasons of his career.
Both Gray and Lopez have combined to make pitching a strength for the Twins, something that nobody is used to seeing. So far that has resulted in ending a 19-year playoff losing streak, and Gray can help put an end to all ghosts of postseason past on Wednesday.
Here's the Minnesota Twins lineup as they attempt to win the franchise's first playoff series since 2002:
Michael A. Taylor