The Chicago White Sox take a lot of heat for playing in the AL Central Division and not dominating it every year. Well, just because they are the largest market in the division by far doesn't mean that they have the right to the top. They are bad and the other teams in it are usually better.
Although the Minnesota Twins are the only team from the division to not reach the World Series this century, they have won it the most and had the most winning seasons. That continued here in 2023. The White Sox (and Cleveland Guardians) failed to reach expectations and the Twins took advantage.
They have some really good players all over the diamond and are always looking to improve. They run their franchise significantly better than the White Sox do. However, they have been a bit snake-bitten once the playoffs actually begin for a few years.
Actually, saying a few years is an understatement. They entered the postseason looking for their first single-game win in 19 years. 2004 was the last time they even won one game. They did end up losing that 2004 ALDS to the New York Yankees so their playoff series victory drought was even longer.
One of the White Sox's biggest rivals is on to the 2nd round of the playoffs.
They were looking to end all of that in this first round. They drew the Toronto Blue Jays who were one of the Wild Card teams in the American League. Toronto actually had a better record than the AL Central champion Twins but none of that matters when the playoffs come around.
The Twins took the first game by a final score of 3-1. That gave them a chance to finally win a series on Wednesday which they did. They took the best of three by winning the second game 2-0. The celebration is on in Minnesota.
Minnesota's pitching was dominant in the series as they only gave up one run in two games. Starters Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray did their job by giving up a combined one run in 10.2 innings pitched. The bullpen took over the rest and didn't allow a single run in either match.
Toronto's pitching was good too but a few of the Minnesota hitters were able to put together some clutch hits. In the first game, Royce Lewis hit a two-run home run in the first inning and a solo shot in the third inning. Yes, he had all three RBIs in this game and those are the only three runs they needed.
In the second game, Carlos Correa had two hits and an RBI as he was clearly the first star of this game. Getting the clutch pitching and a few clutch hits like this is what allowed the Twins to be a division winner and now a playoff series winner.
The Houston Astros now await the Minnesota Twins. We will have to wait and see if the AL Central champions have what it takes to take down the defending World Series champions.