CLEVELAND -- Tuesday night's game between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians was postponed due to rain. The postponement had implications for both teams regarding the American League wild card race.
For the Indians, the postponement keeps alive their flickering postseason hopes, which could be extinguished as soon as Wednesday.
At the start of play Tuesday the Indians trailed Houston by five games for the second wild-card spot. The Indians basically have to win all of their remaining games in order to have a chance at the second wild card.
The Twins are in much better shape. They were 1 1/2 games behind Houston, pending the outcome of Houston's game in Seattle on Tuesday night.
The Twins and Indians, meanwhile, will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, starting at 4:10 p.m. ET. In the first game Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson (10-11, 3.96 ERA) will oppose Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco (14-11, 3.44 ERA). In the second game, right-hander Mike Pelfrey (6-10, 4.09 ERA) will pitch for the Twins, and right-hander Cody Anderson (6-3, 3.31 ERA) will start for the Indians.
The doubleheader will put a strain on both team's pitching staffs, a strain that will be felt more by the Twins, who are still squarely in the hunt for postseason berth.
For the Indians, the end is near. It's remarkable that with less than a week left in the season they were still mathematically in the wild-card race, given that they have been over .500 just one day since April 9.
Even the Indians' front office felt they were out of the race at the July 31 trade deadline, making five trades at or near the deadline that sent veterans to other teams.
But the recall of rookie shortstop Francisco Lindor and third baseman Giovanny Urshela, and the addition of center fielder Abraham Almonte through a trade injected some much needed energy and defense to the team, and the Indians managed to hang around the wild-card race for most of the season.
"Defensively we've been drastically better, and we're just fighting to win games more," manager Terry Francona said. "We made our share of mistakes and we knew we would because we're awfully young."
The Twins are a more veteran team, and they still have plenty to play for over the last five days of the regular season. They are trying to reach the postseason for the first time since 2010. They averaged 97 losses in each of the last four years, but are one of the surprise teams in the majors this year.
"We've broken that losing trend, but we'd still like to accomplish more than that this year," said manager Paul Molitor.
NOTES: Indians OF Michael Brantley, who has been plagued by multiple nagging injuries this year, is a question mark for Wednesday's doubleheader due to a sore right shoulder. Manager Terry Francona wouldn't rule out shutting down Brantley for the remainder of the season. . . Indians 3B Giovanny Urshela remains sidelined with a sore right shoulder. He hasn't appeared in a game since Sept. 17. . . Twins OF Torii Hunter needs three more doubles to become the 61st player in history with 500 doubles. . . Twins rookie OF Eddie Rosario is tied for the major league lead with 16 outfield assists, the most by a Twins rookie since Kirby Puckett had 16 in 1984.