There are 240 bottles of champagne on ice in the visitors clubhouse this morning, waiting to be sprayed on postseason-bound Indians later today. In the Twins' clubhouse, there are leftover items cleaned out of a closet and dumped on a table for any player who wants them. Need some spare blood-red batting gloves, or a Johnny Goryl bobblehead?
So the atmosphere is a little different on the two sides of Target Field today. The Indians are on the field taking batting practice, knowing they have at least one more game to play, either Monday in a tie-breaker, or Tuesday in the wild-card game. Cleveland is a game up on Texas and Tampa Bay in the wild-card chase, and can clinch home-field advantage with a win. They had hoped to clinch by now, and save starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez for a postseason start, but with the Rangers and Rays still within striking distance, they're forced to use him today.
The Twins? With the season about five hours from ending, they cancelled batting practice. They're packing boxes, exchanging phone numbers, discussing offseason plans. They're wondering about their manager's fate, but also their own; after a season like this, there's no doubt that a large number of these players won't be in this room next year.
As for the manager: Ron Gardenhire swears he and Terry Ryan haven't discussed next year yet, though the Twins are scheduling a press conference for tomorrow. We'll know soon.
Josmil Pinto isn't playing today, as there is no reason to risk making his bruised hand worse. He's had a strong September, and goes into the offseason with plenty of positive experience.
Here are today's lineups as the Twins try to avoid their second straight 96-loss season: