The Minnesota Twins have hardly looked like a playoff team lately.
Minnesota will try to regain its winning ways when it opens a three-game set against the Cleveland Indians.
Since clinching the AL Central title on Sept. 20, the Twins have dropped seven of their last nine games, including Thursday’s 6-4 loss to New York.
The skid has caused the Twins to fall into a tie with AL West co-leaders Anaheim and Oakland, and make a return trip to the Bronx for the ALDS a possibility.
That’s something the Twins would prefer to avoid, especially after getting swept this week in a three-game set and having lost to New York in last year’s ALDS.
“You’re not going to have as good of a shot (in the first round),” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, “but you are going to have a shot. Starting off here against the Yankees, that wouldn’t be fun. It would be fun, but it’s not fun. We want to try and win home field advantage.”
Cleveland’s Scott Elarton will look to extend Minnesota’s slide, and attempt make his case to remain with the Indians in 2005.
Elarton, who was signed to a minor league contract on May 25 after beginning the season 0-6 with a 9.80 ERA with the Rockies, is 3-5 with a 4.64 ERA in 21 starts for the Tribe.
“I’ve been very impressed with Scott Elarton,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He’s a free agent (after the season). Hopefully, we can get something done with him. It’s a case of both sides being able to work things out.”
The Indians come into the series hoping to finish the season at .500. Cleveland swept three games from Kansas City and is two games behind Chicago for second place in the AL Central.
“Finishing .500 and in second place are both significant.” said manager Eric Wedge. “I’m proud of this team. They’ve come back from a tough stretch and picked themselves up. They had to find motivation from each other and that’s what they’ve done.”