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One to Go/Thanks, Cleveland

The Twins wrap up their 2008 season on Sunday at the Metrodome, where they’ll try to take one out of three from Kansas City.

After losing again on Saturday, the Twins were once again reduced to rooting for Cleveland to beat the White Sox. The Indians obliged, thus keeping the Twins atop the tradition-laden AL Central by a slender 1/2 game.

Here’s the story: If the Twins win on Sunday, then they’re assured of no worse than a tie for the AL Central lead. If the Twins win and the Sox lose on Sunday, the Sox are done, as the Twins will have an insurmountable 1 game lead If the Twins win and Chicago wins, the Sox will have a makeup game to play against Detroit on Monday (and won’t those Tigers be eager to play that game…).

If the Twins lose and the Sox win, the Twins will be a 1/2 game behind, but the Sox will still need to beat Detroit in the makeup game.

If both teams lose on Sunday, we’re back to where we started, and Chicago must face the Tigers. If they win that makeup game, then there would be a one game playoff in Chicago between the Twins and Sox.

Crystal Clear, eh?

It appears that after the thrilling, emotional series against the Sox, both the Twins and Sox are cooked, both physically and emotionally. The Wednesday and Thursday games were essentially edge-of-your-seat games from the first pitch to the last. I wasn’t surprised in the least when the Twins came out flat on Friday against the Royals. Saturday’s loss, on the other hand, is more troublesome. Instead of the ragged bullpen falling down (although both Boof, who had been superb this week, and Guerrier were awfully shaky), this one is on the bats. With 4GIDP, the Twins couldn’t get a big inning going. They had Gil Meche on the ropes during several innings, but couldn’t come up with a hit to extend it. MVP candidate Justin Morneau is one who’s enmeshed in a nasty slump at an inopportune time. He left 6 runners on base, and hit into one of the 4 GIDP. He’s had just one RBI on the homestand.

The other disquieting note for the offense is that Carlos Gomez, who has once again been electrifying the past two weeks, appeared to be moving a bit gingerly during Saturday’s game. He, too, had missed opportunities on Saturday, with 4 LOB.

Scott Baker, who’s probably been the Twins’ most consistent starter, hurls on Sunday. Meanwhile, in Chicago, veteran Mark Buehrle, on the heels of his season-high 121 pitch effort against the Twins on Wednesday, is coming back on short rest.

And to think that the playoffs haven’t even started…

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