Aloha all. I returned from Hawaii yesterday, but the news has not exactly been favorable in Twins Territory since my absence. The Twins haven't been playing well, while the first-place White Sox and third-place Indians have both been winning and winning. The Sox have now built a daunting 8-game lead, and Cleveland (the team which most people picked before the season as the one to give the Twins a run for their money in this division) have snuck up from behind and are just a couple games out of knocking the Twins down to third. These are distressing trends, to be sure. It's too early to panic, and we're still very much in the thick of the Wild Card race, but 8 games is a lot of ground to make up, even over half a season. I know, I know... we've done it before. But let's face it; this White Sox team is not going away. They are a good team, and their pitching is good enough to win games where they don't get much run support (Rob Neyer recently wrote an article for ESPN.com discussing the Sox' 9-11 record in games where they score 3 or less runs, which is the best in the AL).
I don't know how likely it is that the Twins will be able to capture a fourth straight division title. Right now the need is just to concentrate on playing good baseball and regaining some ground, and that needs to start with a win over the Tigers tonight.