Monday's victory has eliminated the White Sox from playoff contention and guaranteed the Twins one of four precious spots. But the season isn't over yet.
One game now separates the Twins from not only the central division leading Detroit Tigers, but also from the New York Yankees, for the best record in all of the American League. There are six games remaining for both Detroit and Minnesota, meaning the Twins would have to finish two games better than the Tigers since we've lost the season series.
Date Minnesota Detroit New York
9-26 vs KC vs TOR vs BAL
9-27 vs KC vs TOR vs BAL
9-28 vs KC vs TOR vs BAL
9-29 vs CWS vs KC vs TOR
9-30 vs CWS vs KC vs TOR
10-1 vs CWS vs KC vs TOR
Opp W-L 145-168 141-171 151-161
All three of these teams aren't just winners, they're solid clubs that pose a threat. They may be differing threats, but for the first time in a few years I believe the American League will be bringing four legitimate October contenders into the playoffs (assuming Oakland doesn't collapse for the Angels).
The Twins have done what most of us deemed inconceivable, which is a feat on its own. Six more games in order to pass two teams, each of which won't be giving up ground easily, is more difficult than what has been pulled off since June 8. But, if by the fates granted by the baseball gods, homefield advantage is on the line the afternoon of October 1, does Johan Santana pitch? Or do you hope to win, and have him available for game one regardless of the result?
Detroit, New York and Minnesota all should come out ahead over the next six games. By any standard, the Twins shouldn't expect to be able to make up two games in six days...but it's been one of those years. All the pressure is on the Yankees and the Tigers, and if they stumble, the Twins will hopefully do what they've done the last four months and pounce on the opportunity.