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Minnesota Twins Will Have to Exorcise Postseason Demons to Give Magical Season Meaning

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 04: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after striking out against the New York Yankees during the seventh inning in game one of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium on October 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Divisional Series - Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees - Game One | Elsa/Getty Images

Aw, jeez, here we go again.

It's a Fargo-esque thought Minnesota Twins fans are undoubtedly harboring as they go into Game 2 of the American League Division Series (5:07 p.m. ET, FS1). After all, there are three certainties in baseball at this point: a home run, a strikeout, and a Twins loss in the postseason.

Entering Saturday's game, the Twins have lost 14 consecutive postseason contests, a streak that dates back to 2004. A 10-4 defeat in Game 1 on Friday night set a new MLB record that no one wants to beat.

Some feel the Twins should be complacent with mere playoff visits. After all, the relatively small-budget team is just over a decade removed from contraction/relocation discussions. But, since their Metrodome days, the Twins have proven themselves to be a pesky little small-timer. They took home the World Series in 1987 and 1991 and have continued to make sporadic playoff appearances since.

Plenty of renowned baseball names have passed through the Twin cities. Johan Santana, Kirby Puckette, Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau have given rise to new diamond heroes like Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, and Jose Berrios. This latter grouping guided the Twins to an unthinkable 101 wins this season, reaching triple digits for the first time since a 1965 World Series run.

On paper, that's plenty to be proud of. The century mark in victories is often reserved for the penthouse dwellers from the Bronx, Los Angeles, and Houston. But the Twins know they're capable of more. For them, it's all about playing to the potential they know they have, eschewing the low-budget moniker for one of playoff stability.

“The last time we played these guys was a few months ago and maybe some of the pitches that they would have swung at then, they’re not swinging at now,” Twins catcher Mitch Garver said, per Jerry Beach of Forbes. “Or some of the pitches they missed last time, they’re not missing now. I think that’s just postseason baseball. The game’s elevated a little bit.”

The rich Yankees, in the midst of the closest thing they'll have to a Cinderella run with the countless injuries they've endured, have been particularly cruel to the Twins in this run. All but three of their 14 defeats have come at New York's hands, including a single-game wild card heartbreaker in 2017. Making matters all the more painful is the fact the Twins have scored first in all but one of those games.

Sure, King David took down Goliath, and the Twins have done so with many big-name teams this season (they own winning records against fellow playoff squads from Houston and Tampa Bay, for example). But David kept it going with a long, healthy reign. It's great to see the little guy win one, but the "one" has to come on a much bigger stage. This is Minnesota's time to get that one.