With their 6-4 victory against the Cleveland Indians (and the loss of rival Chicago White Sox) the Minnesota Twins are the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the 2010 post-season. With this year's AL Central Title, it marks the sixth title for the Twins in the last nine seasons. In a change from the last two seasons, the Twins were able to clinch early. In 2008 the Twins played and lost the 163rd game of the season against the Chicago White Sox while last year they once again played the 163rd game of the season this time in an extra inning classic against the Detroit Tigers to win the AL Central Title. Not bad for a team that MLB suggested should be contracted along with the Montreal Expos back in 2002. For those of you who don't remember or know what contraction is read Bob Collins' article Selig says Twins' contraction still 'a possibility' from the Minnesota Public Radio website dated March 26, 2002.
The victory also marked another milestone with the 800th career victory in the managerial career of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. In the nine years under Gardenhire, the Twins have won six division titles, have had five 90-win seasons, and only one season with a losing record. And this guy can't win a Manager of the Year title having finished second five times in nine seasons. The voters for Manager of the Year take note and give the man his due. To see an interesting breakdown of Gardenhire and the Twins teams during his tenure check out the article The Best Twins Team of the Ron Gardenhire Era on the Twinkie Town website.(Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
As my buddy Topper of the Curve For a Strike blogpage likes to remind me, the Twins have been the best team in Baseball in the second half playing to the tune of 44-18. This is especially impressive given the fact that the Twins lost two pivotal players to injury in closer Joe Nathan (to season ending surgery during spring training) and first baseman Justin Morneau (right before the All-Star break due to a concussion and related symptoms). The Twins have also been able to adapt and adjust to a myriad of other injuries to get to the record of 91-60, only a game behind the New York Yankees who lead the league with a 92-59 record. As it stands, the Twins are in the driver's seat for a home field advantage in the first round and are still in the hunt for home field throughout the playoffs. And speaking of a home field advantage.
This is for all the critics who claimed the Twins should have stayed indoors. The Twins had 39,580 fans in attendance on a cool night in Minneapolis. It was the 73rd straight sellout and 74th in 75 games this year. Whether or not the weather will be a factor this October remains to be seen but it should be interesting and exciting to see Target Field lighting up the October sky.
For Further Reading
- Click Here for Kelly Thesier's article Early clinch a change of pace for resilient Twins on MLB.com
- Click Here for Twins Win, Clinch AL Central After White Sox Lose from the NYTimes.com