Lament all you must over the typical lack of regular season drama. Six of the eight spots are spoken for, sure, with the seventh being highly tilted in favor of the Colorado Rockies winning the NL Wild Card over the surging Braves.
That leaves the AL Central and two teams that, in any other plane of baseball existence, would have been eliminated a couple weeks ago.
The current standings:
Detroit Tigers: 83-72
Minnesota Twins: 81-74
Four games between the Twinkies and Tiggers commence Monday night (I'll be at the series-opening game, tantalized by the appearance of the '84 championship team and the hopes of being one of the first 10,000 to nab one of these chic get-ups.
If the Tigers take three of four, the race is mathematically over and everyone can begin assembling their starting rotation and play the Triple-A team. A series split means the Tigers remain in the driver's seat, two games ahead with three to play for each. Should Minnesota take three of four, then the damn race just got even more interesting, as we'll have ourselves a wicked tie. And if Minnesota sweeps? Well, that'll just plum make me cry.
It's also entirely possible that the division ends in a tie, with one game deciding it. Who doesn't love those kinds of games?
Earlier this month, the Tigers had as much as a seven-game lead. That's eroded due in part to silent bats and pitching woes. Jarrod Washburn, Detroit's much-hyped trade deadline acquisition, is probably gone-sies for the year, ending his short tenure with a 1-3 record and a 7.33 ERA. On the other side, Justin Morneau and Joe Crede took the early offseason a couple weeks ago, and somehow they've been playing better without them.
(Clearly Morneau was holding them back. If they place Joe Mauer on the disabled list, I can only imagine the Twins would be AWESOME. I recommend this highly before the series begins.)
Will either of these teams make much noise against the Yankees, who they will most likely play in the American League Divisional Series? It's hard to say "yes," given that New York has handled both teams quite well (5-1 vs. Detroit, 7-0 vs. Minnesota). But since playoffs have an odd way of taking logic and shooting it between the eyes, we can only assume that whoever claims the AL Central scepter will somehow reach the World Series. (But only if it's Detroit.)