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Al Central Newsbeat

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Twins win AL Central crown for first time since 2010

The Twins went into Wednesday night with a magic number of two and a four-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central. They weren’t in real danger of losing the thing, but it’s always better to clinch early and get a few days of rest for the regulars while being able to set the rotation for the divisional round.

Thanks to a Twins 5-1 (box score) win in Detroit and Indians 8-3 (box score) loss to the White Sox, the clinch has happened. The Twins are the American League Central champions for the first time since 2010. The Indians were heavy favorites to win the division when the season started, but the Twins nearly went wire to wire in the lead here. Starting April 20, the Twins were either tied or in first place the rest of the way, building a lead as big as 11 1/2 games.

It was certainly worrisome when the Indians erased said 11 1/2 game deficit by tying things up both on Aug. 9 and Aug. 11, but the Twins steadied and stayed mentally tough, going 27-13 down the stretch since then.

The win Wednesday was the Twins’ 98th of the season. They were 78-84 last season, so it’s been quite the turnaround here under the watch of first-year manager Rocco Baldelli.

Congratulations, and best wishes against the Yankees.

 

QLE Posted: September 26, 2019 at 12:03 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: al central, pennant race, twins

Friday, September 06, 2019

MLB Postseason Picture: Twins extend AL Central lead with dramatic win

It’s September, so the baseball games matter a little more. That’s why every day between now and the start of the postseason we’ll keep you updated on baseball’s postseason picture.

The Minnesota Twins briefly lost their grip on the AL Central lead last month.

They’re determined to not let that happen again.

Minnesota extended its rebuilt lead to 6.5 games over the Cleveland Indians with a dramatic 2-1 win against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.

An update, for those curious about how the playoff hunt is going.

QLE Posted: September 06, 2019 at 03:46 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: al central, playoff implications, twins

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

September Storylines to Follow as MLB’s Stretch Run Begins

If players are defined by what they do in October, their fates are often sealed in September. This is the month that makes postseason success possible. Divisions will be won, wild-card berths will be secured and MVP races will be decided. Here are the top storylines to follow as summer turns to fall.

1. The Last Division Race Standing

The NL Central was expected to be a three-team race all season, as the Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers expected to be in contention for the division title. St. Louis has been surging in the second half, when Paul Goldschmidt got hot and Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson emerged as a strong one-two rotation duo. Entering play Monday, the Cardinals (76-60) are three games ahead of Chicago in the division after winning eight of their last 10.

The Cubs (73-63), who hold a 2 1/2-game lead for the second wild-card, have been wildly inconsistent for much of the season. Their last three series (nine games) are the perfect example: They got swept at home by the Nationals, then swept the Mets at Citi Field before returning home to Wrigley Field and dropping two of three against Milwaukee. Offensive consistency has been a problem, as has an overworked bullpen with a less-effective Craig Kimbrel as the closer. Chicago is ultra talented, with a lineup anchored by a handful of all-stars. The Cubs are more than capable of rivaling the Cardinals for the division title, making the NL Central a worthy narrative to follow the rest of the way.

So, do we agree with these claims, or are there other stories that could emerge between now and the end of the regular season?


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Even-keeled Twins trying to stay that way in tight race

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The home clubhouse in Minnesota was silent after the final game of the series was lost to Cleveland in distressing fashion, a fifth defeat in the last seven contests for the Twins that let the surging Indians create another tie for the division lead.

As players packed for a road trip, minus the usual upbeat music blaring in the background, the mood in the room was hardly somber or tense. Even having the would-be winning run get thrown out at the plate in the ninth inning and the team’s top relief pitcher give up a grand slam in the 10th did not qualify as a devastating development amid the 162-game grind of baseball.

Particularly not under the supervision of rookie manager Rocco Baldelli, whose perpetually relaxed and upbeat demeanor has had more of an influence on these Twins in his first year than any strategic decision or lineup change.

“We’re in a pretty good frame of mind,” Baldelli said following a 7-3 loss Sunday to the Indians. “You’re going to go through runs where you’re playing good teams. You’re going to go through runs where you’re playing well, winning some games but losing some games that you think you should win. We play so many games here and our guys give a tremendous effort every single night when we’re out there that there’s really nothing more you can ask for. We have a very stable clubhouse, which we’re very fortunate for. We have a lot of guys who show up every day the same way, regardless of whether we win or lose.”

A consideration of a team in the midst of a divisional race.

QLE Posted: August 13, 2019 at 05:00 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: al central, rocco baldelli, twins

Monday, August 12, 2019

Carlos Santana’s grand slam puts Indians back in tie for first place

With less than two months left in the regular season, playoff races are starting to heat up. While most of the division races aren’t terribly interesting, the AL Central has become a tight battle between the Twins and Indians. The Twins have held onto first place since mid-April, but the Indians have been surging since June and recently claimed a share of first place after defeating the Twins on Friday.

Sunday marked the series finale in Minnesota. Appropriately, the game went to extra innings thanks, in part, to a tremendous relay from left fielder Tyler Naquin to shortstop Francisco Lindor to cut down Luis Arraez at the plate, representing the winning run.

It seems that the Indians have just remembered that they are supposed to win their division going away, and are playing to live up to that.

 

QLE Posted: August 12, 2019 at 08:18 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: al central, carlos santana, indians

 

 

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