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When Brian Roberts' home run touched down well beyond the right field fence at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Monday night, the Twins found themselves tied for first place in the American League Central division with the South Siders. Each team is 63-49. So starting tonight, the Twins and White Sox will begin a 50 game schedule that will include nine games between the two teams.
So, how big are these games? Based on what happened in 2006, 2008 and 2009, we all know that anything can happen at the end of an AL Central season. So if one of the teams sweep this three game series, the season is not over, by any means. I think as a Twins fan, it would be wonderful to win two out of the three games. To sweep the White Sox in Chicago would be something that not even the most optimistic of Twins fans should expect. With three more games in Target Field against the White Sox one one week, the teams will have a chance to even things out again.
But to say that these games mean nothing would also be underplaying their significance. Think about this: Since 2002, the team that won the season series between these two teams ended the season with the better record. If we believe that the Tigers are all but eliminated (which is probably an assumption we shouldn't make quite yet), the team with the better record between the White Sox and Twins should be the division winner.
Let's briefly look back:
So, of the seven seasons in which a team won the season series, that team won the division title. For Twins fans, that is a good thing since they have won the season series five times in the last eight years. The White Sox have won the division twice. (Cleveland, behind CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona, won the AL Central in 2007, the season that the Twins and White Sox split their 18 games played.)
Currently, the Twins lead this season's series 6-3.However, the teams have three games in Chicago this week, three games at Target Field next week, and three more games in Chicago in mid-September. A lot can happen. These are two really good teams, and they play a lot of very entertaining games.
This season is now 112 games old. It comes down to essentially a 50 game season for the Twins and the White Sox. Of those 50 games, nine of them are against each other. What happens in those nine game is obviously very important and matters in the AL Central race, but fans need to remember that the other 41 games matter a lot too.
If nothing else, it should be a ton of fun to follow these two teams the rest of the year. Are you not entertained?
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