As the Twins were losing in overtime to the Reds on Sunday afternoon the White Sox lost to the Cubs giving the Twins the AL Central pennant for the second year in a row. The Twins get home field advantage against the Astros and play their first game Tuesday at 1 p.m.
The Astros have been in the headlines as of late for all the wrong reasons, putting an asterisk next to their 2017 World Series trophy. Most of America will be pulling for the Twins as they face off against a team that cheated their way to their only World Series in team history.
With Byron Buxton and Josh Donaldson’s status still up in the air, the Twins will need someone else to step up in big situations. These two both missed the final two games of the season and it would be a huge blow to the lineup if they aren't able to play in the first series. The good news is that they have a young star in the making in Luis Arraez who isn't afraid of the big moments.
Arraez had his ups and downs in 2020 as he went through a small slump earlier this season. He has since gotten his batting average back up to .321, a stat that leads all Twins hitters in the regular season.
Over the last two years the Twins have utilized the long ball to their full advantage. Although Arraez isn’t going to flash a lot of power in the playoffs, he is still arguably the best contact hitter in the Twins lineup.
Home runs will of course help the Twins in any situation, but the small ball approach can win games in the playoffs. The team will need to capitalize on base runners better than they have as of late, and Arraez gives them the best chance at having runners on for the power hitters in the lineup.
Arraez has battled the injury bug throughout the last month and just got some meaningful at bats in the Twins final series against the Reds. Over the last two games, Arraez is hitting .750 with three RBIs and four doubles. It’s a small sample size, but the Twins second baseman is heating up at the right time for the playoffs.
Rocco Baldelli mixes it up frequently with his lineups but getting the hottest hitters in the top of the order should be a priority for the Twins. Arraez has shown that the bright lights don’t scare him and he’s also the hottest hitter on the roster at this time.
Although the rest of the baseball world might not know the Arraez’s name, that could change rather quickly if he starts out hot against the Astros Tuesday afternoon.