The Cleveland Indians lost the first game of a Saturday doubleheader to the Minnesota Twins, putting them further behind in the AL Wild Card race.
Magic numbers and long afternoons. Must be September.
On Saturday, the Indians fell 2-0 to the Twins at Progressive Field, knocking them two games off the pace of the Oakland A’s for the top Wild Card slot in the American League. Cleveland is also 1.5 games back (one in the loss column) of the Tampa Bay Rays to qualify at all.
Going into the evening slate, Cleveland is playing a virtual must-win affair. Should the Twins beat the Indians again, Minnesota would vault to a 5.5 game cushion in the AL Central. It would end all hopes of a divisional title as a route towards the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the A’s have the easiest remaining schedule of the three main teams fighting for the wild card spots. Oakland has two more with the Texas Rangers in Arlington before returning home to face the Kansas City Royals and Rangers for three games apiece. Then it’s the road for a two-game set with the Los Angeles Angels and four with the hapless Seattle Mariners.
As for the Rays, they have two more in Anaheim before a grueling eight-game stretch which includes two games at Dodger Stadium, then two with the New York Yankees in St. Petersburg and four with the Boston Red Sox. Tampa Bay finishes with a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cleveland has a tough road ahead. After finishing up with the Twins on Sunday, the Indians play six games next week against the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies at home (three each). The final week sees a road trip with a trio of games against the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals respectively.