The Twins faced elimination in Detroit yesterday, but were able to avoid being shoved completely out of the playoff picture by salvaging a series split with a lopsided 8-2 victory. Scott Baker tossed five solid -- if inefficient -- innings and the offense took care of business against Nate Robertson and the Tigers bullpen as the Twins moved back within two games of the Tigers heading into the season's final weekend.
And so, the Twins come home maintaining a slim shot at catching the Tigers and sneaking into the playoffs. Beating the Royals in each of the next three games at the Metrodome is basically a necessity (and perhaps a stretch, considering that Jeff Manship is set to start for the Twins tonight and Zack Greinke is scheduled to start for the Royals tomorrow), but even then the Twins would need some help. And that help will have to come from -- of all teams -- the Chicago White Sox.
Oh, the irony.
We're talking about the same Chicago White Sox that bounced the Twins in a one-game playoff a year ago. The same Chicago White Sox that are widely considered to be the Twins' most bitter rival. The same Chicago White Sox that nearly any Twins fan would label their most hated MLB team. If that White Sox team, which has essentially nothing to play for at this point, can't find a way to take at least two of three from the Tigers in Detroit this weekend, the Twins are sunk.
It's not unthinkable, really. The Twins themselves dropped two of three at home against the Royals when they had a chance to clinch the division last year. And this Tigers team has shown a clear lack of ability to slam the door, as illustrated specifically by their big loss yesterday and in general by their late-season slide that has let the Twins back into this race in the first place.
It's nice to know that this weekend's season-ending three-game set will have significance beyond being the final Twins series played in the Metrodome. And while it's overwhelmingly unlikely that the Twins will catch the Tigers in an unprecedented comeback, at least Twins fans have something to cheer for, as awkward as it might feel.
So, um... Go White Sox?