After finishing with 103 losses last season – the most in the majors – the Minnesota Twins entered 2016 with understandably low expectations, at least from the outside looking in.
But here we are, with a dozen games to play in the regular season, and the Twins (78-72) are fighting for a Wild Card spot. In fact, they have a 1.5-game lead over the Angels (76-73) entering play Sept. 19.
If the Twins can hang on, they would likely face the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium in a one-game playoff. If so, there’s no denying who should take the hill for Minnesota: ace Ervin Santana, who leads the team in wins (15), ERA (3.34) and strikeouts (161).
“I do. I do want the ball,” Santana said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “That would be very, very exciting for the Twins and the whole organization. It would be very exciting.”
While some players might press in a one-game playoff, Santana believes the key is just doing what you always do.
“It’s all about confidence,” he said. “If you have your confidence level up, anything can happen. . . . Just throw a strike. Don’t try to do too much. Don’t try to change anything. Just be you. Don’t try to be different.”
Santana, 34, signed with the Twins in 2015. He spent the first eight years of his career with the Angels (2005-12) before pit stops in Kansas City (2013) and Atlanta (2014). He was named an All-Star this year for the first time since 2008, when he donned an Angels uniform.
Now he wants the Angels to lose – and lose often.
“It’s very interesting,” he said. “I used to play for them and now I don’t want them to win. That’s how it is. That’s how baseball is.”