Thursday, September 09, 2010

In Control

The White Sox lost to the Tigers today, with Manny Ramirez -- whose offensive production since being acquired at the end of August has amounted to seven singles in 24 at-bats -- grounding out to end the game. By dropping three of four in Detroit this week, while the Twins swept the Royals, the Sox have fallen a full six games out of first place in the AL Central with 22 left to play. If you're into sports betting, your money's probably safe on the Twins at this point.

That's not to say this race is over. We can't easily forget that the Twins faced a similar deficit in the standings one year ago and managed to overtake the Tigers with a fierce push in the final weeks. There are plausible ways that Chicago could work there way back into the thick of this race. If, for instance, the Sox were to pick up a game over the weekend (Chicago hosts the Royals while Minnesota travels to Cleveland) and then sweep the Twins at home next week, they'd shave the deficit down to two games.

But let's be realistic and give our team some credit. It would take a significant collapse on the Twins' part to let the Sox move past them, and they've simply given us no reason to believe that's going to happen. This is the hottest team in baseball, led by a strong pitching staff and an intimidating offense.

If the Twins stay even with the Sox over the weekend and take two of three in Chicago next week, their lead will bulge to seven games with 16 left to play. At that point, even if the Twins played .500 ball the rest of the way, the Sox would have to go undefeated to surpass them in the standings. Not happening.

The White Sox still have a chance to make their last gasp within the next week, so it remains a bit too early to count them out. One week from today, though, it might be time for the Twins to start planning out their postseason rotation


Anonymous said...

I just don't see the Twins getting swept in Chicago. Worst case scenario, they'll lose two of three.

This is obviously an exaggeration, but the Twins have been to the White Sox this year almost what the Yankees have been to the Twins. It seems like they always find a way to win.

Nick N. said...

Yes, the Twins have played the White Sox well, but that hardly guarantees anything. The Sox are a good team, and that's obvious from their record.

Anonymous said...

My money should be returning with friends over the next week as I took them to win OVER 83.5 games and OVER 87.5 games. Love it when a plan comes together.


David McGraw

jack torse said...

The only way Chicago gets back into it means the Twins have to collapse. Despite how well the Twins played late last year, the only reason they got into the dance was because Detroit completely gave it away. The Twins have been horrible at times this year so anything's possible. I dont forsee it but I cant forget how poor they were in June. Matt Capps will cost this team from advancing in the playoffs. He absolutely doesn't have an out pitch and will be exposed in a painfull way for twins nation in October. Imagine him with a one run lead in the Bronx in the 9th? It's going to suck.

Pa Torg said...

I agree Capps isn't great. But he's better than Rauch. And though Crain is better right now than either, I'm actually more comfortable with Crain NOT being the official closer as that allows Gardy to actually use him as an old school "fire man" instead of saving him for save statistics. That of course is assuming Crain's arm isn't gassed by the playoffs.

matt said...

right now its lookin like the twins starting 3 in playoffs will be pavano, liriano, and duensing...i think liriano would go first though.

Karl said...

Latest item for the Anti-Gardy faction to get all riled up.

Gardenhire wants to call up Revere, does so - at the indirect expense of losing Matt Fox to Boston on waivers.

Then glues Revere to the bench instead of finding out if he can be at least valuable as a defensive replacement.

Is there any merit to Revere being up and not in the game late defensively for Young/Kubel? I don't understand the "need" to have Revere up and do nothing - especially because it indirectly cost us Fox - who is no Sandy Koufax, but perhaps a capable major league pitcher.

Anonymous said...

That was Bill Smith's decision as well--and a good one.

Revere gets a taste of what the big leagues are like, giving him a leg up as the replacement for Jason Repko as the fourth outfielder next year.

Matt Fox will forever be near and dear to the hearts of Twins fans for that one game, but the guy has no future as a big-league starter. He would have been gone this off-season anyway, as a Rule 5 pick or minor league free agent. 40-Man-Roster slots are precious, and there's no way he would have occupied one.