Cleveland Refuses to Run Away with AL Central

Photo: Hannah Foslien - Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins lost both games of a doubleheader vs the New York Yankees on Wednesday. Game one was a makeup, after Tuesday’s contest was rained out. Now, the Twins enter Thursday’s series finale in serious danger of being swept.

Losing four-straight games this late into a contested pennant race would surely put a damper on a team’s realistic hopes of making the MLB Postseason, right? Not so fast, my friend. Not if your division rival can’t win games on a regular basis, either.

Guardians Can’t Close

On Wednesday night, as the Twins’ loss was becoming official, the Guardians were toting a 1-0 lead as they grabbed their gloves and trotted onto the turf in Kansas City. for the bottom of the 9th. But the Royals put up two runs before the Guardians could secure three outs. They walked off as losers, after this Salvador Perez SAC fly scored the winning run. That must be why it’s called a “walk-off”.

So, even though the Minnesota Twins have lost three-straight games to the Yankees and six of their last ten total, they still remain just two games behind the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central and well within shouting distance of a playoff spot. Because the Guardians are dealing with their own struggles, losing seven of their last ten, including five-straight vs the Orioles and Mariners, before arriving in KC.

Now, let’s look at Thursday. While the Twins are finishing their four-game series in the Bronx, the Guardians have an off day. That means, if Sonny Gray can somehow outduel Cy Young candidate, Nestor Cortez, and the good guys can secure a finale victory tonight, the Twins will head back to Minnesota just 1.5 games back in the AL Central.

AL Central still up for grabs

Guess who will be there waiting for them? You guessed it. Not only do the Twins and Cleveland Guardians play three games against each other this weekend, but they will play five of their next eight vs one another. In other words, the division is still wide open.

Even if you want to give up on the Minnesota Twins season, and I tried to do it yesterday, you can’t. Because the Guardians can’t finish them off. And this isn’t a two-team race, either.

The Chicago White Sox did secure a victory on Wednesday and moved into a tie with the Twins. They too sit just two games back of Cleveland, in the division. And Minnesota will still play Chicago six more times this season, too.

Like it or not, baseball season is far from over. Maybe Carlos Correa can do us all a favor and heat up a little bit in clutch moments

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan