Last games could be good ones for Twins

Lucas Smith

Lucas SmithColumnist

Last year, the Twins won the central division by defeating the Detroit Tigers in a thrilling extra regular season game. Less then a week later the World Series Champion New York Yankees swept them 3-0 in the playoffs. Night and day compared to this year.

The Twins have a genuine shot at the American League pennant and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Minnesota trails the Tampa Bay Rays by two games for the best record in the majors. They are also tough to beat at Target Field hosting the best home record in the American League at 48-23. If the Twins’ pitching can continue its second half form, do not be surprised to see Minnesota with home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

With the season nearing its end, the Twins try to capture their second straight AL Central title and the sixth in the last 10 years. Minnesota has won eight out of the last 10 games as of Sept. 13 and show no signs of slowing down.

The Twins have the best record in the American League since the All-Star break without the team’s cleanup hitter and All-Star first basemen Justin Morneau. Even without Morneau, Minnesota is tied for first with the Texas Rangers in team batting average at .276 and ranks third in the entire league in total hits. Morneau is currently on the disabled list due to a concussion he suffered in early July. To the dismay of Twins fans, his return is uncertain.

Hopefully Morneau can return with some time left in the season to regain his timing and help the Twins in the playoffs.

Forty-year-old designated hitter Jim Thome provides much-needed power in the middle of the lineup. On Sept. 11 Thome hit his 23rd homer of the season in the top of the 12th inning in a scoreless game against the Cleveland Indians. The Twins won 1-0. Thome currently sits eighth on the all-time home run list at 587 homers. No doubt Twins fans look forward to watching him chase the 600th.

The Twins have a crucial three-game series against the Chicago White Sox who trail Minnesota by six games as of Sept. 12. This is the last time the two teams meet this season and it could be the last chance for Chicago to gain ground on Minnesota. If the Twins can avoid a sweep and scratch out one or two wins against the Sox, pencil them in for the playoffs. The Twins have a favorable remaining schedule, which includes three games apiece against the Royals and Indians.