Win Probability: 37.7%
Enjoy the view today, citizens. This is what the world looks like when you're sitting, albeit precariously, in the catbird's seat. After one of the more eventful doubleheaders I've had the pleasure to see (especially the Sano salami that had everyone at Buffalo Wild Wings cheering), the Twins find themselves with a not-all-that-comfortable 5.5 game lead on Cleveland with just 14 games left to play. Even assuming a loss today, and Fangraphs makes it pretty clear who the underdog is, the Twins would still lead the division by 4.5 games with just two weeks to go. Over that span the Twins have a steady diet of Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City while the Cleveland squad still has to tangle with the Nationals and the Phillies. I like to think of the Twins as an old-time army that marched out of the city almost six months ago. Over the course of the summer campaign they battled with many other armies, collecting wins as their booty and hoisting home runs as their trophies. There were many triumphs and some difficult defeats. Now, with their spoils in tow, the weary army is marching home. The healthy do their best to carry the injured, and the walking wounded do what they can to stay on the march and in the fight. Up ahead, the city gates have come into view. All General Baldelli has to do is fight a rearguard action of daily skirmishes and get his men inside the walls before the army that's been in hot pursuit for weeks and weeks can overtake them. Do that and you get to keep the spoils and bear the title division champions. But if you fail, then all of the triumphs turn to dust and ash, your army is decimated, and your city is sacked and burned by the barbarian horde.
The Twins enter play today with their magic number at nine and an improbable chance to sweep Cleveland and pound a few nails into the coffin set aside for their playoff hopes. Baldelli is relying once again on the bullpen and call-ups to pitch the entire game, opening with Randy Dobnak who will give way to Kohl Stewart. The Indians delve into their embarrassment of starting pitching riches and trot out Not Justin Bieber, who has not given up more than three earned runs in any of his last 11 starts. The days are getting shorter, there's a chill in the air of a morning, and football is trying to infringe on pennant races. It's time to get this done. Play ball!