Losing while the team in front of you wins amounts to some pretty bad timing. Especially while when you were winning, they were also winning. The results mean that the Twins' playoff hopes have dropped significantly over the last few days, and now the situation is this.
Both the Mariners and Indians have less than a one percent chance of making October, so they've been left off the wish list. At this point, only Baltimore, Toronto, Kansas City and Oakland have been eliminated. Technically.
After last night's fiasco with the Martinez-less, Lee-less, Sizemore-less Cleveland squad, "technically" is starting to take on a bit more of a threat. Of course the Twins have been here before, with dwindling October odds and something resembling a sizeable gap betwee them and first place, but the difference is that at that time there were that many more games remaining.
For another season, it seems, the Twins are giving our hearts a run for their money. A six-game deficit with just 28 games remaining is a deep deficit, but we're forced to hold onto hope thanks to the seven remaining games against our division leaders. Three games at home two weeks from now, and then a four-game stretch in the final week. This would provide ample opportunity for the Twins to close a possible gap with the Tigers, provided it doesn't get any bigger.
Ultimately we're still asking the Twins to consistently do what they've been unable to do all season, which is to beat teams they should be able to beat and take care of their own business. We've been handed a season-long gift in the form of a first place team that hasn't been able to to do what they're supposed to do, either. Until now, it seems.
Looking at MLB.com's standings this morning, Minnesota's elimination number is 23. That's a combination of Twins losses or Tigers wins adding up to 23. Those seven games could be a help, but the margin for error continues to shrink.