Can the Twins win the AL Central without Justin Morneau?
For the past two seasons, 162 games were not enough to crown the AL Central Division Champion.
After splitting the series with the Twins, Detroit only needed win two of three from the Chicago White Sox ensuring them the AL Central title. Even if they only won one of the three, Minnesota would have to sweep the Kansas City Royals to tie the Tigers.
The Tigers failed. Game 163 was played at The Metrodome, where nine innings were not enough to decide the division.
The Twins ended up winning in the bottom of the 12th.
What are the chances that the Minnesota Twins are heading for a third straight game 163 to decide the AL Central?
The Twins currently hold a three-and-a-half game lead over Chicago, and a nine-game lead over Detroit.
At this point in the season in 2009 the Tigers had a larger lead at four-and-a-half games over the Twins, and a five-game lead over the White Sox.
Detroit finished the 2009 season 18-17.
The Twins went 22-12.
Both teams ended up at 86-76.
Here's a look at the remaining schedules for the Twins, White Sox, and Tigers. All three teams have 11 series remaining in the season.
Current road record: 32-33
Current home record: 40-22
For the Twins, only four of their remaining series are against teams with a winning record, and only Chicago and Texas are in the hunt for the playoffs.
The Twins will continue to play well at home, while playing .500 baseball on the road.
Prediction: 20-14 down the stretch finishing at 92-70 overall.
Chicago White Sox
On the road (16 games): Cleveland, Boston, Detroit, Oakland, and Los Angeles.
Current road record: 32-33
At U.S. Cellular Field (19 games): New York, Kansas City, Minnesota, Detroit, Boston, and Cleveland.
Current home record: 36-25
The White Sox have 10 games remaining against the Yankees and Red Sox, both with better records than any team in the AL Central currently.
They have the advantage of hosting the Twins in their final three meetings of the season, although Minnesota has already won the season series, and would host the tie-breaking game, if necessary.
Like the Twins the White Sox struggle on the road, and with trips to Boston, Oakland, and Los Angeles, even a .500 record will be difficult.
Prediction: 18-15 to finish the season at 87-73 overall, four games behind the Twins.
On the road (22 games): Toronto, Minnesota, Kansas City, Texas, Chicago, Cleveland, and Baltimore.
Current road record: 20-39
At Comerica Park (13 games): Chicago, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Minnesota
Current home record: 43-25
The Tigers have the best home record in the AL Central, and the worst road record of the three teams competing for the division.
There are just not enough home games for the Tigers, and with the toughest remaining schedule, there is no way they climb back into the race.
Prediction: 15-20 to end the season at 78-84, 14 games behind the Twins.
There's no need for an extra game, as the Twins give manager Ron Gardenhire his sixth division title in nine years.
Although, anything can happen, just ask a Detroit Tiger fan.