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Throughout the entire summer, I said I wasn't scared of the Twins. Their run differential wasn't impressive, they relied too heavily on the statistic anomaly that is Livan Hernandez, and their bullpen was downright shaky.
The White Sox, meanwhile, had a good thing going. They clubbed more homers than any team in baseball despite abysmal seasons from Nick Swisher and Paul Konerko. They watched Gavin Floyd and John Danks step into their own. They kept Jerry Owens in Triple-A. Really, what more could you ask for?
But despite all that, the Sox failed to put any significant ground between them and the Twins. Sure, the Sox have led the division practically the entire season, but their lead never seemed to be more than a couple games, no matter how they played.
When the calendar turned to September, I think everyone realized this was going to be a dogfight to the end. There was only one way this race could be settled: a three-game series in Minnesota during the regular season's final week.
And here we are. The Sox will have today off, and then begin the most important series of the season.
Still, I'm really not all that worried. Being three games up in the loss column is pretty comforting this time of year. The Sox will win the division as long as they can do one little thing: win a single game. This may be the first time in my life I'd be satisfied with losing two of three to the Twins.
Some may think that sounds crazy. The pitching match-ups seem to line up favorably for the Sox, and a sweep would mean the ability to celebrate a division title at the enemy's park. But all that is wishful thinking. After all, these games are being played in the Metrodome.
After thinking about this series the last couple of weeks, I came to the realization that the Metrodome is my least favorite building ever. Simply put, the Metrodome is the Brett Favre of ballparks. Just as I'll never loathe an athlete more than Favre, I can say with 100% certainty there will never be another stadium like the Metrodome. Both entities played a part in ruining a small portion of my childhood.
Even though the Metrodome will be home to the Twins for one more season in 2009, I can't think of better way for the Sox and their fans to abolish all the demons of the 90's and 00's then by popping Champagne in the Metrodome's visiting locker room. But that almost certainly won't be the case. As Jim Mora once famously said "Playoffs? We're just trying to win a game here." If the Sox can do that, everything should be alright.
The Week in Review: My life would be so much more hectic without the Royals. After losing three of four to the Yankees at, oh, the season's most critical point, seeing Kauffman Stadium was fantastic. The Sox finished the week 3-4.
The Week in Preview: As you may have heard, there is a rather important baseball series this week. A White Sox sweep unlocks the key to total madness: both Chicago baseball teams in the playoffs simultaneously.
Fields on the Farm: What other way could 2008 end for Josh Fields than with knee surgery?
The Missile Tracker: Alexei hit the Sox's 11th grand slam on Friday, which tied their club record. Hopefully number 12 comes against the Twins.
Over/Under: 5: The number of Sox wins or Twins losses in order for the Sox to clinch the AL Central. Apparently this number is magical.
Beachwood Sabermetics: A complex algorithm performed by The White Sox Report staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that if nothing else, the Royals can pride themselves on a really cool scoreboard.
The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.
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