Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Minnesota on the mind

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258a4816a41b6eecf1c8ddb379721f49-getty-97516570lh021_minnesota_twi.jpgDETROIT - Sooner or later, one of them has to blink.
The White Sox were hoping Sunday would be that day for the Minnesota Twins. Then they watched one of the more bizarre calls of the season bail the Central Division leaders out of a ninth-inning jam, as Texas third base coach Dave Anderson was called for interfering with Michael Young for the final out of the game and a 6-5 Twins win.
"Only thing missing was the Metrodome,'' Sox team captain Paul Konerko joked on Monday, pointing out the fact that the Twins are no strangers to fortunate wins over the years, especially when they played in the friendly confines of the dome.
Obviously, the move outdoors to Target Field hasn't changed much. The Twins are leading and the Sox are chasing.
"Yeah, I would say a little bit,'' John Danks responded, when asked if it was getting frustrating to know the Sox are playing so well, but barely closing the gap. "[Minnesota's] playing a tough team like Texas, you would expect Texas to be able to take at least one off of them, but they're a good team and they're playing well right now. We just have to take care of business.''
As much business as they can take care of feeling like Minnesota simply won't slip up. Sunday was just the latest reminder of that, after the Sox fought back to beat Boston and were looking for some help from Texas. Then it was snatched away in the ninth, just when Texas was rallying.
"It's pretty rare but you learn something new all the time in this game,'' Danks said of the play with Young. "I didn't even know that it was possible to win like that, but ... it's tough. Good teams find ways to win, but we just have to stay within striking distance. We have a big series with them coming up.''
A week away to be exact, as the Twins and Sox are scheduled to face each other just once more this season - a three-game showdown on the South Side beginning on Tuesday.
"I think it's bringing the best out in both teams,'' Konerko said of the race. "We're hanging in there. It's definitely easy to get discouraged when the team is winning a lot and you feel like you're playing well and not moving. It's why it's so tough.
"That's why when it's 162, when you do win the division, the three times we have it's such a great feeling because you feel like it's the hardest thing to do. It's such a battle all year. It should be hell. It should be tough. For us ... it's still very, very possible, but the numbers are shrinking. At some point, hopefully we make a move. But I think it's bringing the best out in both teams. Like I said two, three, six months ago, it will probably come down to the last week, the last weekend. That's what we hope.''
And while the Sox players can say that they have put the Twins in the back of their minds, only focused on the series they are currently playing in, the truth is that Minnesota is very much in the forefront.
J.J. Putz was discussing the current four-game series with the Tigers, and guess where his thoughts drifted?
"Detroit's going to give us everything they've got,'' Putz said, "and then we've got the showdown with Minnesota, which might be the make or break series. It would be nice if [the Twins] would hit a skid in the next four or five days and we can have the chance to win out, but all we can do is win games.''
Actually, the Sox play the Tigers and then have three games with the Royals.
Then there was injured pitcher Jake Peavy talking about how far the Sox have come since their slow start.
"We just need someone to beat Minnesota, that's the bottom line, can someone help us out?'' Peavy said. "It would be nice to be a couple games closer before we have that big series against them [next week]. We got to take two-of-three, and three-of-three would be even better.''
Meanwhile, manager Ozzie Guillen might have the smartest approach. Guillen said he wakes up every morning putting it into his mind that Minnesota has already won that day.
"Mentally I always say we need wins,'' Guillen said. "It's nice when [the Twins] lose, but the way things are going for them I expect to be close enough in the pennant race when we face them. I don't expect anybody to go out there and do us a favor. In the meanwhile, we wish they'd lose. But we just have to continue to play the way we are and take it for the best.''

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3 Comments

Keep an eye on that wild card...Tampa Bay's got 7 games left with the Yankees and were only 6 1/2 back of them heading into tonight

Don't kid yourself one bit. It's the division or see you next year! Go Sox!!

lets help encourage our potential division champions by having another blackout game from the fans. GO SOX

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on September 6, 2010 2:11 PM.

Peavy facing some uncertainty for the start of 2011 was the previous entry in this blog.

Beckham and his right hand - we have a problem is the next entry in this blog.

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