The Minnesota Twins begin their final homestand Friday, facing the AL Central division leading Detroit Tigers. The Twins enter the series tied for last place in the division with the Cleveland Indians, and the Tigers lead the Chicago White Sox by two games. While last Sunday’s doubleheader sweep in Detroit meant the Twins officially have a better record than last year, the Twins are striving to improve in one more way, finishing above last place in the division, for pride and for a fanbase that is feeling new levels of frustration.
Although the Indians seem to be free-falling late in the season, passing them in the division rankings may prove difficult for the Twins. The Indians play the next three games against the Kansas City Royals, another mediocre team in the AL Central, and three against the White Sox, whose recent struggles include taking only one of a three-game homestand against the Indians. The Twins face three against the Tigers at home, where the Twins are only 1-5 against the Tigers in 2012. They end the season in Toronto for three games against the Blue Jays. The Twins split a four-game series at home against the Jays earlier this season, but the Jays are only a few games better than the Twins. If the Twins are going to pick up some ground, it may be during that final series.
More exciting than scrambling to climb out of the basement is watching the top two batters in the AL, separated by only three points, face each other at Target Field this weekend. Tigers’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera enters the series hitting .326, and Twins’ catcher Joe Mauer has a .323 average. Fueling the excitement is Cabrera’s chase, not only for a batting title, but for a Triple Crown season. Cabrera is currently first in average, first in RBI, and second in homeruns. If Mauer won the batting title, it would be his fourth, more batting titles than all other MLB catchers combined. A win from either player could make history.
For Minnesota Twins fans, what “feels” better than last year is that the drive to win is still obviously present in this team. That drive is seen in batting title races, players auditioning for 2013 spots, come-from-behind victories, and not letting division rival Detroit Tigers walk into the post-season. The Twins may be out of the 2012 race, but they won’t leave quietly.