The Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays in recent years have shared unfortunate similar postseason fates.
That's a label both teams -- and fan bases -- want to shed this October.
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The Twins not only haven't advanced beyond the division series since 2002, but they have also lost an MLB-record 18 consecutive postseason games dating back to 2004. The Blue Jays have not won a postseason series since 2016.
Somethings gotta give. One drought will soon end, with the two teams set to meet in the best-of-three American League wild card series beginning this week.
The Twins won the American League Central division by nine games with a record of 87-75 to claim the higher seed in the bracket and earn home-field advantage. The Blue Jays, playing in the much more competitive AL East, finished third in the division at 89-73 to claim the third and final wild card spot.
Pitching has been the strength for both teams all season, with the Twins posting the best team ERA in the American League at 3.82 and the Blue Jays finishing just behind them at 3.85. The Twins feature an All-Star duo at the front of the rotation with Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray.
Lopez, in his first season with the Twins after being acquired in a trade that sent Luiz Arraez to the Marlins, went 11-8 with a 3.66 ERA over a career-high 194 innings pitched. Gray finished 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA, the second-lowest among qualified AL starting pitchers, by allowing just eight home runs over 184 innings pitched.
Kevin Gausman led the Blue Jays by going 12-9 with a 3.16 ERA, leading the AL in strikeouts with 237, although he allowed six runs in his June outing against the Twins. He'll be followed by either Chris Bassitt or Jose Berrios. two of the four Toronto starting pitchers this season who posted sub-4.00 ERAs while reaching double-digit win totals.
The Blue Jays' staff has helped make up for the lack of firepower that the lineup was expected to produce. Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer led the team offensively, but the Blue Jays left more runners on base than any team in the AL, placing them below league average in runs scored.
The Twins tied the Texas Rangers for most home runs in the American League, despite the team leader, Max Kepler, having hit just 24. They used a balanced attack, with 12 players finishing with a double-digit home run total this season. Setting the table is 24-year-old rookie, and Quebec City native, Edouard Julien, who leads the team in on-base percentage at .381.
The availability and productivity of Byron Buxton (knee), Carlos Correa (plantar fasciitis) and/or Royce Lewis (hamstring) could provide a postseason boost for a Twins team desperately trying to, at the very least, snap a historic postseason losing streak.
Here's everything you need to know about the Twins-Jays series.
When do the Twins and Blue Jays play?
The first game of the wild card series between the Twins and Blue Jays is Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. ET at Target Field in Minneapolis.
What is the schedule for Twins vs Blue Jays?
Here is the full schedule for the Twins-Blue Jays series, with all three games to be played at Target Field.
Oct. 3 - Blue Jays at Twins, Game 1, 4:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 4 - Blue Jays at Twins, Game 2, 4:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 5 (if necessary) - Blue Jays at Twins, Game 3, 4:30 p.m. ET
What are the pitching matchups for Twins vs Blue Jays?
It's a matchup between the American League's top-two pitching staffs in terms of lowest team ERA. The AL's top strikeout pitchers will square off in Game 1, with Gausman facing Lopez.
Also worth mentioning, if the series goes to a Game 3, taking the ball for the Blue Jays could be Berrios, who spent six seasons with the Twins after being drafted in the first round.
Here's the projected pitching matchups for the series:
Game 1: Kevin Gausman (12-9, 3.16 ERA) vs. Pablo Lopez (11-8, 3.66 ERA)
Game 2: Chris Bassitt (16-8, 3.60 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (8-8, 2.79 ERA)
Game 3 (if necessary): Jose Berrios (11-12, 3.65 ERA) vs. Joe Ryan (11-10, 4.51 ERA)
How to watch Twins vs Blue Jays
All games in the series between the Blue Jays and Twins will be broadcasted on ESPN. Streaming will also be available on the ESPN app and ESPN+.