The Minnesota Twins had the majors' best home record (24-7) during the 2020 regular season. The Houston Astros had one of the majors' worst road records (9-23).
It's certainly not an impossible task for the Twins to bounce back and take two in a row from the Astros to move to the next round of the playoffs. The odds are in their favor, even … but history certainly isn't.
The Twins have lost their last 17 playoff games.
The latest, Tuesday's 4-1 defeat by the Astros, broke a tie with the Chicago Blackhawks for the longest postseason losing streak in any of the four major North American professional sports.
The Twins have now lost 17 straight playoff games. Assuming each game is 50/50, the odds of that happening are 1 in 131,072. The Twins have played a total of 68 playoff games in their history.
The last time the Twins won a postseason game came on Oct. 5, 2004 — when Johan Santana, Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan combined to shut out the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the AL Division Series. The Yankees, however, came back to win the next three in a row. And the losing streak was born.
Minnesota Twins players, from left, Torii Hunter, Michael Restovich, Matthew LeCroy, Lew Ford, Cristian Guzman and Terry Mulholland had no idea their loss in the 2004 AL Division Series would lead to a record-breaking playoff losing streak. (Photo: Ann Heisenfelt, AP file)
So just how long has it been since the Twins' last postseason win?
— That same day, Oct. 5, 2004, golfer Tiger Woods, 28, and Swedish model Elin Nordegren, 24, were married at Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados.
— In early October 2004, Democrat John Kerry and incumbent Republican George W. Bush were deadlocked at 49% apiece in the latest USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup presidential poll of likely voters.
— The No. 1 song on Billboard's Hot 100 chart was "Goodies" by Ciara featuring Petey Pablo. Other chart toppers: "She Will Be Loved" by Maroon 5 (Mainstream Top 40), "Days Go By" by Keith Urban (Country) and "American Idiot" by Green Day (Alternative).
–The top-grossing movie in the United States was the animated film "Shark Tale," featuring the voices of Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger, Angelina Jolie and Jack Black.
–The Nationals weren't in Washington yet. They had just wrapped up their last season as the Montreal Expos.
–On Oct. 5, 2004, seven-time NBA All-Star Scottie Pippen announced his retirement from the NBA and the Chicago Bulls at the age of 39.
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–And finally, comedian Rodney Dangerfield — famous for his catchphrase, "I don't get no respect" — died at the age of 82.
With their losing streak at 17, the Twins may share a similar lack of respect from the baseball community. But unlike Dangerfield's persona, they still have a glimmer of hope that after all that losing, there's a possibility things could be different today.
Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner
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