I have this pitiful vision of the end of the Twins season: After their offense builds leads in the final three home games against the White Sox, the bullpen blows it, handing the Sox three victories, and the division title. The dejected Twinkies shuffle out of the Metrodome tunnels knowing they have only themselves to blame. But it doesn't have to end this way for the Twins, if they play as well as they are capable of playing. The fact is, the Twins are slumping worse than the housing market, and it was the most dreadful time for it to happen. After losing 11 games on their 14-game road stand in the past few weeks, the Twins' upcoming series against division-leading Chicago will either land the Twins a playoff berth, or torpedo their season. If they lose, and if Boston avoids a 2007-New York Mets-like-collapse, the Red Sox will clinch the wildcard, and the Twins will be left kicking themselves for an opportunity lost. However, if the Twins can pull even with Chicago during the series or take a one-game lead, their chances look decent for squeaking out the division title as they finish the season at home against the troubled Baltimore Orioles, and the Sox grapple with so-so Cleveland. Cross your fingers.
Sept. 23-25, 7:10 p.m., 2008