It took until the final day of the season, but the Minnesota Twins are the champions of the AL Central for the second straight season. And that’s only part one of the AL Central chaos that wrapped up Sunday.
That’s good news for the Twins, who lock up either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed on the AL side of the postseason bracket, but it made things more complicated for the White Sox — who just two weeks ago were the top team in the AL. Now they will face a tougher road as a wild-card team and the No. 7 seed.
The Cleveland Indians beat the Pirates 8-6 on Sunday, pulling into a tie with the White Sox for second place. The tiebreaker? To Cleveland. So the White Sox are still in the postseason, but will be a No. 7 seed instead of a No. 4 seed (or the No. 1 seed they seemed capable of seizing just a few weeks ago).
For Minnesota, it’s an impressive comeback that saw them overcome a three-game deficit in the last week of the season. It’s also their eighth division championship since the AL Central division was created in 1994.
Expect the AL Central chaos to roll right into the postseason, as all three teams come in with fascinating storylines:
The Twins, now with a better pitching staff than last year, will be looking to power through the AL bracket (and hopefully avoid the Yankees) for their first World Series trip since 1991, when they won it all. First, they just need to win a series. The Twins have gone 0-6 in playoff series dating back to 2002. Overall, Minnesota has lost 16 straight playoff games.
The White Sox showed a lot of promise with their young and exciting lineup — which includes Luis Robert, Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez. But after losing seven of their last eight, that postseason excitement has lost some of its luster.
The Indians, who will now host the Yankees in the Wild Card Series, may actually be the most dangerous of these teams. They have the strongest pitching in the AL, which could make up for the shortcomings in their lineup. Not many teams will want to face Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco and Zach Plesac in a short series.
Whatever happens in the AL playoffs, you can expect these three teams to play a big part.
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