Stop the Bleeding!

Tourniquet, please?

That was embarassing.  The entire road trip, starting with the third game against the Angels, was an exercise in assiness.  Ass-bats, ass-relief, ass-decisions.  Strangely enough the culmination of all that assiness is a simple 1.5 game deficit to the White Sox, which is just bizarre considering Minnesota is just 15-14 since going to Seattle on August 4.  I guess it's just a tribute to the White Sox and their 17-10 record in that period that things aren't worse than they are right now.  A strange mix of off-days and coinciding wins and losses for both teams have kept this race alive.

We're now left with 22 agonizing games before the end of the regular season.  Life or death, sink or swim, they're 22 games to tell us exactly how this season's ride will end.  Like the last few pages of a book, even if things don't look good for the protagonist you just have to keep reading.

Or maybe it's like a train wreck, and I can't avert my eyes.

At any rate, the good news (no Jesse, no, stop the optimism!) is that if the Twins play as well as they've been capable of playing this season, there's hope for them yet.  Right?  Let's run down the schedule and find out.

Sept 5-7, versus Detroit (67-73)

For all the hype Tiger fans, and baseball fans, were heaping on Motor City over last winter and spring, this has to be a frustrating year.  At any rate, this is a team the Twins should be able to take care of.  Let's say two wins here, since they're in the Dome.

Sept 9-11, versus Kansas City (60-79)

I was really hoping they'd finish in fourth this season.  They try so hard!!  I'd like to say sweep, but the Royals could still pull out at least one.  Two wins.

Sept 12-14, at Baltimore (63-76)

Good enough to be in third place in the AL West or fourth in the AL Central, B-More's the bottom feeder of the East.  Two wins.

Sept 15-17, at Cleveland (67-71)

It's an away series against a competetive and familiar foe.  One win.

Sept 18-21, at Tampa Bay (85-53)

85 wins and the best team in baseball by percentage points, away from the Dome for four games?  One win.

Sept 23-25, versus Chicago (78-61)

Right now, it looks like this series will let us know whether the final series of the year will matter or not.  At home the Twins don't have a big problem with stepping up to their competition, so I'll say two wins.

Sept 26-28, versus Kansas City (60-79)

With the season on the line, two wins.

That's a 12-10 record over the last 22 games, a realistic scenario, and would give the Twins an 89-73 record.  I've believed for the last couple months that 90 wins would win the division, and unless the White Sox lose more games than they win the rest of the season 90 games will be just enough.

If Chicago starts to take care of business, the vice grip on the Twins will be squeezed pretty tight.  One thing is certain--Minnesota needs to start playing like division champions starting tonight if they want to pull this thing out, no matter how small that 1.5-game deficit seems.

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