MINNEAPOLIS — Withfor their first-round playoff matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Minnesota Twins have a chance to snap one of the saddest streaks in pro sports.
The Twins have lost 18 straight postseason games. They haven't won one since Oct. 5, 2004, when they beat the New York Yankees 2-0. The Yankees won the next three games of the series, knocking the Twins out of the playoffs and starting the streak that extends to this day.
Their most recent playoff appearance was 2020, when they lost the Wild Card Series to the Houston Astros in two games.
According to MLB, the Twins' losing streak is not only the longest in the league, it's the longest in all of professional American sports — at least by number of games. The Philadelphia Phillies didn't win a postseason game between 1915 and 1977, but they only lost 11 games in that time.
The Twins' series with the Blue Jays starts Tuesday afternoon. The team is well-positioned to win a game this year, if not a series. The Twins finished the season with the third-most home runs in MLB and the sixth-best ERA. The Blue Jays have a better ERA — fourth best, in fact — and their on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS+) is better, though they hit almost 50 fewer homers than the Twins.
The Twins are also coming into the playoffs off of a red hot final month. They were the fourth-best hitting team by OPS+ over that time and no team scored more runs. Their pitching staff had the sixth-best ERA over the last month. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, were middle of the pack in all of those stats over the final month.
The Twins and Blue Jays split their season series, with three wins each. Minnesota outscored Toronto 28-26 across those six games.
Injuries are a concern for the Twins. Byron Buxton, who was already limited to designated hitter duty this season, hasn't played in two months. Royce Lewis has been limited with a hamstring injury, but the Twins are hoping to slot him in as designated hitter against Toronto. In September, Lewis hit .313 with six home runs and 23 RBI.
Here's another factor in the Twins' favor: They're not playing the Yankees! Of the Twins' record 18 straight losses, 13 were to the Yankees.
The Twins are in great shape to finally shed the albatross of postseason loss. If they don't, well, maybe they really are cursed.
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