Sep 17, 2010, 10:47 AM EST
Needing to sweep the Twins to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs the White Sox instead lost all three games in Chicago, ending the AL Central race.
With a nine-game lead in the division and a “magic number” of eight games the Twins could conceivably fail to win any of their final 16 games and still claim the AL Central crown if the White Sox go 8-8 or worse. In other words, it’s over.
Going into Chicago and taking all three games from a team clinging to their playoff lives continues the Twins’ recent dominance over the White Sox. They’ve won 11 of the last 13 matchups at U.S. Cellular Field and are 31-13 against the White Sox since the middle of 2008, including a 13-5 record head-to-head this season that all but accounts for the nine-game gap in the standings.
Twins-White Sox has become perhaps the most lopsided rivalry in baseball and some time next week Minnesota will claim its sixth AL Central title in nine seasons under Ron Gardenhire. Remarkably, since losing Justin Morneau and his 1.055 OPS just before the All-Star break the Twins are an MLB-best 43-19 and are now very much in the mix with the Rays and Yankees for homefield advantage.
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