That was probably the most unexpected way to take a series from Cleveland, with the only loss coming on a Santana start. But I'll take it. What makes it even better is the fact that Chicago and Detroit play each other next week, while the Twins take on the BoSox. If the Twins can put together 2 or 3 wins, they can make up some great ground on their two competitors.
After this weekend, the Twins have moved 4 games in front of Chicago, the biggest lead they've had this season in the Wild Card race. They are also just one game out of the Central division lead, which is the closest they've been since opening day. Not only that, the Twins are playing excellent on the road, going 21-8 since the All-Star break. They have finally pulled to one game over .500 for the year. And they still have the best home record in the majors at 50-24.
By going four up on the White Sox, they have now put themselves in a position, where if they carry the same record for the next ten games as the Sox, the last three games will be rendered unnecessary. Although, it would be kind of nice to clinch against them, which they may get to do as far as the Central Division if they're still in the race with the Tigers.
As for Santana's loss, at first I was bummed, but now I figure that if he had to lose one down the stretch, that one was okay. Plus, Silva picked the team up on Saturday, and Baker today. The biggest worry about the Twins a month ago, the rotation, has been able to do a fine job and keep these guys in the race.
The offense is starting to produce again as well. They do have hiccups like Santana's game and the finale against the A's, but overall, it seems like they're getting more runs each game. However, they're still leaving a ton of guys on base and hitting into too many double plays. It's like they get things started, but just can't finish it off. I guess they need to take Mike Redmond's lead and "smell the RBI."
13 games left. I can't believe what this season has brought forth. In June, I was just hoping for them to get back to .500 by the break, they got to 8 games over. In July they caught the Sox and I was just happy that they were in the race for the Wild Card. Now they're a game behind Detroit and fighting for the division. Heck, they're even close enough for a shot at home field, and maybe even best record (thanks Pittsburgh!)
There's just one thing I don't want - another subway series. The Mets can be in it, fine. But keep the Yankees out. They haven't been the story this year. It's been the Twins and the Tigers. They deserve the spotlight. The Tigers would be the only team I would be okay with the Twins losing in the playoffs. The Yankees, while doing well, have obviously won thanks to the pickup of Abreu. People say it's Jeter, but things started to turn around when Abreu came to them. Just another example of them buying their way through the season, and I'm sick of it.
The Twins and Tigers have won mainly on young talent and teamwork. I want to see them battle it out in the ALCS, just like in 1987. And of course, like 1987, I want to see them win in 5. And like in 1987, I'd like to see them win the Series. And... just because I'm in St. Louis, I'd love for it to be against the Cardinals, so I wouldn't have to travel 500 miles to see a game in person.
This is the year to be a Twins fan!