Without hyperbole, Tuesday afternoon is the biggest day of the Minnesota Twins season so far.
After beating Houston on Sunday, the Twins have a chance to take a commanding series lead in the ALDS and move a step closer to the World Series.
Minnesota is attempting to win its first home ALDS game since 2002, but the way the Twins have been playing has put most of the streak talk to bed. We are less than a week removed from the team snapping an 18-game postseason losing streak but it already feels like that happens ages ago.
The performance in Game 2 went a long way in burying demons of postseasons past.
Pablo Lopez pitched out of his mind in the win, tossing seven scoreless innings while looking like the ace Minnesota needed when they traded for him back in January. It you find yourself wondering when was the last time the Twins pitching was this good, it’s because it has been decades. Not since the days of Johan Santana and Brad Radke has Minnesota possessed pitching this reliable, and it’s strong enough compote totally carry the team to an ALCS.
It’s more than just stellar pitching that has lifted the Twins, as the offense is clicking like we haven’t seen all season. There had been flashes of what we are seeing, but Minnesota usually folds in moments like what we saw in the first two ALDS games. That wasn’t the case this time around, as Minnesota battled back valiantly in a 6-4 loss on Saturday and used that momentum to bombard Houston in a 6-2 win to even the series.
A win on Tuesday would do more than just tip the series scales in Minnesota’s favor, it would send a message we haven’t heard in quite some time that the Twins are for real and need to be considered a legitimate World Series contender.
Minnesota Twins lineup for ALDS Game 3 (October 10, 2023)
Here’s the lineup Rocco Baldelli and the Twins are rolling into Game 3 with:
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the lineup for Game 3 is that Royce Lewis is back in the field. Jorge Polanco is moving back to second base, which means Lewis is going to slide in at third and play defensively for the first time since the middle of September.
Lewis injured his hamstring during the home stretch of the regular season, and there was some doubt as to whether he'd be on the Wild Card roster. We all know how that turned out, but he was added to the roster as strictly a hitter. It's the most encouraging sign yet that he's as close to 100 percent as he's been in a month.
With Polanco moving to second -- his natural position -- Edouard Julien will take the DH spot.