How the Chicago White Sox continue to keep pace with the Minnesota Twins in the division is a bit perplexing, but far from surprising to those of us who have grown accustomed to watching the nail-biting games that have decided the AL Central champion year after year. It seems like every season it comes right down to the wire, no matter how superior one team appears to be to the other.
Last season the Detroit Tigers were the superior team, yet the underdog Twins rode a magic carpet ride to the division crown. Somehow, someway it's always interesting in the Central. So don't count out the Sox completely yet, although I get the feeling that this year the Twins will run away with it.
With the Twins 10-3 spanking of the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers 9-1 trouncing of the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, the Twins cushioned their lead in the Central division to 4.5 games after a dead heat over the past week between the two ballclubs, who are both 7-1 over their last eight games.
But all will be decided next week in Chicago, that is if the Sox don't fall out of contention before that. But if they are still floating when Sept. 14 arrives, I believe the Twins will sink them during a three-game trip to U.S. Cellular. And when they do, it will be one of the few opportunities the Twins will ever get to rest their players during the last week of the season.
The White Sox aren't a bad team, but if you show me one person who truly believes they are playoff worthy, I'll show you a liar. Outside of good starting pitching, Paul Konerko and Alex Rios they have little to boast or brag about. They would be manhandled by the Yankees or Rays. The Twins at least have a fighting chance behind solid pitching and a bashing lineup from top to bottom.
No need to worry about waiver wire pickup Manny Ramirez (the guy that grew up in the Bronx but somehow forgot how to speak English his first day with the Sox), who is only a very small fraction of the player he used to be. He is hitting .389 since joining the Southsiders, but he has zero extra base hits and zero RBIs in six games. He's 38-years old and crazy.
Now look at the Twins lineup, there's really is no comparison, especially if you are one that clings to hopes that Justin Morneau will throw on the jersey again this season.
The resurgence of Joe Mauer in the second half, the heroics of Jim Thome during the recent homestand and Delmon Young's career year have the Twins batting order looking pretty rock solid right now. And outside of Morneau and Danny Valencia (due back possibly on Friday), the lineup is fully healthy for once.
If the Sox somehow sneak up and steal the division from the Twins this season it will be because of the magic that annually surrounds the AL Central division this time of the year.
And in that case I will be eating my words while watching the White Sox getting swept in the first round of the playoffs.