Everything went the Minnesota Twins way in Game 2 of the ALDS on Sunday night.
Minnesota bounced back after a 6-4 loss on Saturday to even the series behind an absolutely dominant performance by Pablo Lopez. The Twins ace pitched seven shutout innings and was everything the team expected he'd be when they traded for him back in January.
Any questions about whether the Twins on the Lopez-Arraez trade were put to rest and buried on Sunday. Lopez's destroyed the Astros lineup, never lost his composure, and was one of the key reasons Minnesota is heading back to Target Field with a chance to advance to the ALCS in front of a home crowd.
In fact, he's one of the main reasons the team has a chance to reach not only the ALCS but the World Series. If the Twins continue to harness whatever magic they had in Game 2 and look like the unstoppable force they were in Houston on Sunday night, there's no reason to believe they can't go all the way.
Carlos Correa was the flip side of the coin in Game 2. While Lopez dominated on the mound, Correa torching his old team provided all the energy the Twins needed to feed off to power them to a win. It was more than just the three runs Correa batted in, it was his calm demeanor that the team channeled all night. Minnesota is less than a week removed from breaking a 19-year postseason losing streak, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the way the team acted as though Game 2's win was business as usual.
The Carlos Correa Effect is real, and it's something that extends to every corner of the clubhouse.
Pablo Lopez had the perfect message after Twins Game 2 win
After the win, Lopez spoke with the MLB on FOX studio crew and delivered a message that will have Twins fans ready to run through more walls than the Kool-Aid man for him.
"Nothing changes," Lopez said of the Twins mentality in October. "We are very deserving to be here. When you think about it, every team that gets to the division series is here for a reason and we belong here."
That's a message that hits Twins fans deep within their souls. The 18-game losing streak was more profound than just a team that lost a bunch of games; it was a nearly two-decade-long identity crisis. The Twins made the playoffs but it never felt like they belonged there, not until this year.
Seeing the team play as well as it has is one thing, but to hear Pablo say what he did was validating on such a deep level for Twins fans.