While the White Sox enter tonight’s series against the Minnesota Twins in desperate need of a sweep, the Twins have already moved onto a bigger goal. With a six game lead on the White Sox, and just 19 games to go in the season, the Twins are looking at securing home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
That’s right, thanks to the best record in baseball since the All-Star Break, the Twins are just two games back of the AL East winner for the best record in the AL. That would go a long way to helping the Twins end their playoff woes, especially considering how well they’ve played at home this season.
So the White Sox can lay out all the scenarios they want, but the Twins have already moved past them. Even a White Sox sweep might not matter, the Twins are just that good. Of course, the likelihood of the White Sox sweeping the Twins three hottest pitchers is questionable at best. The Twins haven’t let up in nearly three months, what reason is there to believe that a mid-week trip to US Cellular Field would change that. The White Sox just won nine of 13 games, including a 7 game winning streak, and lost 1.5 games in the standings.
In years past, the Twins weren’t quite equipped to win series at US Cellular, which helped make up for the Metrodome dominance. With both teams built for their park, the White Sox were able to out slug the Twins in Chicago, but this year’s Twins offense is ready for that. With Delmon Young coming into his own, Jim Thome setting the world on fire, and of course the steady Kubel-Cuddyer extra-base hit duo the Twins can more than match the White Sox in their home park.
In the end, the White Sox just couldn’t overcome a slow start and some key injuries. Without Jake Peavy, the White Sox have been forced to ride Freddy Garcia too long, which abused and overworked the bullpen until it stopped working. The lineup was never good enough to deal with sub-par pitching, and that was before a number of key players slumped for a portion of the season.
So, even as the White Sox season comes to an unofficially official close these next three days, this season shouldn’t be looked at too negatively. If you would have told me at the end of the first Cubs-White Sox series that the White Sox would be in the playoff chase, I would have called you crazy. Since then Ozzie Guillen has had his finest season as a manager, Paul Konerko has made a bid for AL MVP, and Alex Rios has become a good baseball player again.
The Twins are just a better baseball team this season, a team that has gone all out to try and win a World Series, while the White Sox didn’t go all in until they got Manny Ramirez. At that point it was already too late, the Twins are just too good.