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AL Central may be settled before Twins and White Sox play next week

Sep 9, 2010, 11:17 AM EDT

Next week’s three-game series between the Twins and White Sox in Chicago has loomed large on the schedule for some time now, but it’s looking more and more like the American League Central may be all but settled by then.
Minnesota won last night behind another Brian Duensing gem and Chicago got shut down by Jeremy Bonderman, so now the Twins lead the division by 5.5 games with just 22/23 games left on the respective schedules. projects the Twins to win the division 93.9 percent of the time and Baseball Prospectus has Minnesota’s odd of prevailing at 93.5 percent. In the past two seasons the AL Central has come down to a one-game playoff, but unless the Twins stumble against the Indians this weekend the 2010 drama may not even last until mid-September.

  1. Cheap Seat Chronicles - Sep 9, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    Here’s to hoping that’s the case. It’d be nice to see the Twins go into the playoffs without having spent everything in the tank over the final three weeks.

  2. ThatGuy - Sep 9, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    Absolutlely. As well as being able to set a playoff rotation, give Mauer/Cuddyer/Delmon a day off or two and rest the pen.

  3. tbliggins - Sep 9, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    Pretty confident for a team that also had no chance at winning the division at the same time last year.

  4. Mrsteve - Sep 9, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    The Twins did win the division last yr in the 1 game playoff. The year prior they came in second loosing the 1 game playoff. They are always in contention. What does your comment mean?
    Anyway who cares because Gardy will find a way to get swept from the first round. Like he did to the Yankees & A’s.

  5. funkyrabbit - Sep 9, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Oh… tbliggins is probably just trying to say that nobody gave the Twins a chance last year either when they were 5.5 games back on September 14 and went 17-4 over their last 21 games. If the AL Central has demonstrated anything over the past few years, it’s that anything can happen and probably will… Right now the Sox are 5.5 games back too, and it’s only September 9. I’m sure the Twins have enough to clinch this division, but you just never know.

  6. tjwilliams - Sep 9, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    That’s a pretty ballsy statement coming from someone who wrote
    They needed to take three of four games in Detroit to give themselves a reasonable shot at the playoffs going into the final weekend, but instead two poor pitching performances, a ton of small ball-obsessed over-managing from Ron Gardenhire, and an injury-depleted, scrub-filled lineup has all but destroyed the Twins’ hopes for a division crown even before the final game of the Tigers series.
    on September 30th, last year, in a post on the Twins not-so-presciently titled “The End”. You can never count anybody out in that division.

  7. minnesconsin_ad - Sep 9, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    I love the twins and I hope they stay on track. But the playoffs will be tough. They need Fuentes to get healthy to make a run in the playoffs, and for Gardy to be smart enough to give him more opportunities late in the game. Capps is a mess: 1.35 WHIP and .332 BABiP. Thankfully, he’s got an above-average strand rate of about 76%, but that doesn’t make me feel much better. The guy is single-handedly proving Craig’s point about the meaningless nature of the save stat.
    Gardy should know, after 6 years of sub-1.00 WHIP from Joe Nathan (exception being 2002 when he had a 1.02), that a closer who keeps the basepaths relatively clear is essential to success.
    Look at the numbers for the closers for the other 3 likely AL playoff teams:
    Feliz has a .96 WHIP and a .238 BABip
    Soriano: .81 and .207
    Rivera: .75 and .207
    So you’re Gonna throw Capps out there in the 9th? really? worst trade EVER.

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