For those of you who, like me, had just turned six in time for the '87 postseason, here's a refresher on how the Twins won the pennant and got to the big dance for the second to last time:
The Twins finished the season with the worst record of any of the four division champions (85-77) but went on to crush the AL East champion Detroit Tigers four games to one for the American League pennant. Weirdly the Twins had home field advantage, but they wouldn't need it as they took two of three in Detroit as well as their first two at home. The Tigers had finished the season with the best record in baseball (98-64).
Interestingly, the Tigers have been back to the postseason just one time since 1987--in 2006, when the Twins relegated them to the wild card on the last day of the season. I didn't really realize it, but the Twins sort of dashed a generation of Tiger hopes back in 1987 and almost foiled their children's hopes in 2006.
Flash forward to 2009. The question on everyone's mind is, are we caught in a time warp whereby the magic of 1987 will rub off on an eerily similar Twins stretch run? Well, the Tigers or, slightly less likely, the Twins will face the AL East champion New York Yankees in the ALDS, who will finish the year with the best record in baseball... only this time almost certainly with over 100 wins. They'll have home field advantage too. So it's not really like 1987 in that way. BUT, the Twins might just finish with 85 wins once again. That's EXACTLY the same as 1987. They'd just have to go 7-4 over the rest of the season, something eminently doable for a team like ours. Well in that case, the Tigers could simply finish 6-6 to end the season with 86 wins and a division championship. Of course, there are a plethora of scenarios left at this point for how the AL Central will end up, but they are fast diminishing with each new day.
One final observation, lets say the Twins can sweep Detroit. That means Detroit could go 5-3 in the rest of their games not against Minnesota and the Twins could play just 3-4 baseball to take another 85-win division championship. How many wins do you think it will take to win the AL Central this year?