Whenever the Minnesota Twins make it to the postseason, their arrival is caveated with the fact that the team hasn't won a playoff game since the Bush administration. The last time the Twins won a playoff game the Curse of the Bambino was still a thing, and the iPhone was three years away from being invented.
It's been a very long time since Twins fans have celebrated anything in October other than a festival of beers, and alcohol has been very much needed to get everyone through the last 18 attempts the team has made to win a playoff game.
For the first time, though, it feels like the team Minnesota is taking into the postseason this year has what it takes to end the curse. All of the confidence starts with the fact that pitching is finally a strength for the team, something that has proven elusive over the last two decades.
It's no surprise that the last time the Twins had a great starting pitcher was also the last time the team won a playoff game. Johan Santana was on the mound for Game 1 of the ALDS back in 2004 and is the last Twins pitcher to record a win in the postseason; his spirit was invoked by the guy who is trying to become the next to do it.
MLB Playoffs: Pablo Lopez had an iconic pregame outfit ahead of Game 1
Pablo Lopez so fully delivered on the expectations the Twins had for him this season that he earned the right to start Game 1 of the AL Wild Card series on Tuesday. As if fans weren't already hyped for the game -- and for Lopez's start -- he showed up in a Johan Santana jersey as his pregame outfit.
It doesn't get much better than that.
Minnesota traded fan-favorite Luis Arraez to the Marlins to acquire Lopez in what was the latest in a string of moves to try and find a reliable ace.
Unlike the other times Minnesota has tried and failed, Lopez turned into exactly everything the team needed. He finished the season with the second-highest strikeouts among American League pitchers and posted a Top 25 ERA in all of baseball.
Lopez started Opening Day, went to the All-Star Game, pitched the Twins AL Central clinching game, and will be on the mound for the first game of the postseason.