La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins-Jays: Season is almost over

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: October 1, 2012 - 4:42 PM


Wow. They are hurting for hockey in Canada.

On Wednesday, TSN will show a replay of the 2005 World Juniors game between Canada and Russia.  I know Wild fans are eager to see their new, expensive players. I'm seeing up here what it's like for Canadians to deal with the lockout.

They should just track baseball this week.

Folks, we've got great reasons to watch the Twins and scoreboard watch, as crazy scenarios are possible in these playoff races.

First, the Twins. 

There are five players within .007 of the batting lead. Detroit's Miguel Cabrera leads with a .325 batting average while Joe Mauer sits at .323.

Mauer is a career ..409 hitter with a home run and 4 RBI in his career against Aaron Laffey, who's on the hill for Toronto tonight. Cabrera gets to face Royals lefty Bruce Chen knowing he's a career .379 hitter against him.

So pull up a chair tonight to see if Mauer moves in on a fourth batting title. But also keep up with the Yankees, who play host to Boston, and the Orioles, who play at Tampa.

The Yanks and O's are tied atop the A.L. East with 92-67 records - and also lead the wild card race. If the standings don't change by the end of the regular season, they will have to play Game 163 on Thursday to determine the division winner. The loser of that game plays in the wild card playoff game on Thursday. If they win that game, they have to start the ALDS on Friday.

That's potentially four different teams in four days for either the Yanks or Orioles.

Guess what? There's rain in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday in New York. Couldn't get any crazier.

UPDATES

Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit are beat up and are unable to start tonight. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wants to give players like Chris Herrmann a chance to play. It's been hard to look at him over a stretch of days because they've been playing teams in contention and Gardenhire tried to put the best lineup he could out there.

Josh Willingham is here, but he still can't raise his shoulder. It looks doubtful that he will play this  week, although the Twins haven't totally ruled it out. "He's been day-to-day, and we're running out of days," Twins GM Terry Ryan said.


Twins (66-93)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Chris Parmelee, 1B
5. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
6. Matt Carson, RF
7. Chris Herrmann, LF
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Esmerling Vasquez, RHP

Blue Jays (70-89)

1. Rajai Davis, RF
2. Colby Rasmus, CF
3. Brett Lawrie, 3B
4. Adam Lind, 1B
5. Yunel Escobar, DH
6. Kelly Johnson, 2B
7. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
8. Jeff Mathis, C
9. Anthony Gose, LF

Aaron Laffey, LHP
 

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