After a series in which the Minnesota Twins fired the Cleveland Guardians into the core of the sun, things have been a little rough.
The Twins outscored both Cleveland and Texas 42-19 in back-to-back series, but still came into their series against Tampa Bay having only won two of the last five games. Things didn’t get much better against the Rays, as Minnesota now heads to Chicago coming off a series loss to a team they might end up seeing again in October.
While that’s a little disheartening, but let’s not pretend like the sky is falling. Right now Twins fans can take solace in the fact that no matter what happens — barring some historic meltdown that would essentially cost everyone their jobs — postseason baseball will be played in Minnesota this year.
It’s simply a matter of time before the AL Central crown is once again placed on the Twins head, but the work isn’t done yet.
What is the Minnesota Twins magic number? (Updated September 14th)
Minnesota heads to the Southside with a magic number of 9, but they can leave Chicago on the cusp of winning the AL Central.
The Twins can’t clinch the division during the series against the White Sox, but the magic number can shrink to 1 as soon as Monday. That would require a series sweep in Chicago coupled with Texas sweeping Cleveland plus the Guardians losing their series opener in Kansas City.
If all of that happens, the Twins would play Monday’s game in Cincinnati a mere win away from clinching the division.
The flip side of that is less exciting. After tonight both Minnesota and Cleveland will have 15 games remaining, which means at the very least the Twins are in a position to simply run out the clock. It would still take a historic meltdown for Minnesota to lose the division at this point, but backing into the playoffs by default — rather than triumphantly punching a postseason ticket — is not exactly a great look.
Chances are the Twins clinch their ninth AL Central title sometime during the next week, but it’s how they get there that matters. With the unpleasant postseason losing streak serving as a hum of anxiety in the background, Minnesota would be best off not playing with its food and emphatically clinching the Central rather than waiting for Cleveland to run out of time.