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Preview #121: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Minnesota Twins

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Minnesota used to be my baseball team, as much as it could be back in the day...

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS MINNESOTA TWINS
David Peralta - LF Brian Dozier - 2B
A.J. Pollock - DH Max Kepler - RF
Jake Lamb - 3B Joe Mauer - 1B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Miguel Sano - 3B
J.D. Martinez - RF Eddie Rosario - LF
Daniel Descalso - 2B Eduardo Escobar - DH
Chris Iannetta - C Byron Buxton - CF
Ketel Marte - SS Jorge Polanco - SS
Gregor Blanco - CF Jason Castro - C
Zack Godley - RHP Ervin Santana - RHP

This is going back a VERY long way: the late seventies, maybe early eighties. Pretty much the first American I ever knew was a guy called James, who was a friend of the family back in Scotland. He came from Minneapolis. Of course, at the time, the only information about North American sports was the baldest of information - literally, the final scores - which turned up intermittently in the local daily paper, if they didn’t have enough real sports to cover. Still, in the absence of anything else, I’d take a look to see if the Twins, North Stars (as it was in those days) or Timberwolves won, in the days when the D-backs were not even a gleam in Jerry Colangelo’s eye.

They’re still the American League team for whom I have most feeling. Which admittedly isn’t saying much. I largely dislike the Yankees, and somewhat the Red Sox, but the other teams are largely a hiss of emotional dead air. It’s the basic idea of the American League which I detest, with that abomination which is the designated hitter, rather than specific residents. But the Twins haven’t had much success to cheer about lately. Their last playoff appearance was even longer ago than the D-backs, back in 2010. And having been swept the last three times, the last time they even won a game in the post-season was 2004. They’ve lost 12 times in a row since. Ouch.

Despite being only one game over .500, they still have a shot, thanks to the overall mediocrity of the American League, once you get past the leaders. In the double wild-card era, no team has made the post-season with fewer than 86 wins, but the Angels, currently occupying the second wild-card spot, are on pace for only 83 wins. The Twins are currently one game further back, though are also trailing the Royals there. But time is not on their side, and Fangraphs currently gives them only a 17% chance of making it. While I’d generally like to see them do so, this series is not the time for nostalgic sentimentality. If the D-backs sweep, I’ll be perfectly fine with that.

[But sorry, James...]