Giving back: Twins could dole out two playoff spots in two nights, three before week's end

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Yesterday, the Twins handed Oakland their second straight AL West crown, providing little resistance in any of the four losses that were a sweep at the hands of the Athletics, in which Minnesota was outscored 39-14.

Tonight, get ready for more opponent exuberance to be dished out by your Twinkies, with Detroit coming to town for a three-game series in which they can claim a playoff berth tonight, and a division title tomorrow with their magic number to take down the AL Central sitting at two.

Any doubt they'll do both? That will fade away when you look at the pitchers Detroit is trotting out the next three days.

2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander goes tonight, 13-game winner Doug Fister throws Tuesday, and major league wins leader Max Scherzer gets the ball Wednesday. Doesn't get much better than that.

The Cleveland Indians, who are idle tonight, are five games back in the central with six games to play.

They may not take the division from Detroit, but they ARE currently tied with Tampa Bay for the AL Wild Card lead.

Under the semi-new wild card format, two non-division winners get in, with both the Rays and Indians holding a one and a half game lead over Texas.

The Indians' last opponent of the season? You guessed it, four games against your Minnesota Twins at Target Field beginning Thursday.

With the Indians off today, and just two games remaining until the start of Cleveland's last regular season series against Minnesota, it is mathematically impossible for the Indians to get into the playoffs and clinch against someone other than the Twins.

Oakland is in, Detroit is soon to follow, and if Cleveland makes it, it HAS TO be against the Twins.

There's no stats out there on this unless your name is Elias or STATS Inc., but doesn't this have to be one of the only times in MLB history that a team could surrender three playoff spots in the final week of the season?

You may have stopped paying attention, but rest assured, these games still matter in the standings, just not for Minnesota.

They do matter for the Twins if they hope to avoid the dubious distinction of surrendering 60 percent of the American League playoff spots in a 168 hour span.

With the Twins playing for the 18th day in a row tonight, and no off days for the rest of the 2013 campaign, dare we give Detroit and Cleveland playoff spots now?

Minnesota likely will, not because they're terrible, but because they're just so caring, giving, and full of Minnesota nice.

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