Red hot Twins go into Chicago and sweep the White Sox out of the playoff picture

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Needing to sweep the Twins to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs the White Sox instead lost all three games in Chicago, ending the AL Central race.
With a nine-game lead in the division and a “magic number” of eight games the Twins could conceivably fail to win any of their final 16 games and still claim the AL Central crown if the White Sox go 8-8 or worse. In other words, it’s over.
Going into Chicago and taking all three games from a team clinging to their playoff lives continues the Twins’ recent dominance over the White Sox. They’ve won 11 of the last 13 matchups at U.S. Cellular Field and are 31-13 against the White Sox since the middle of 2008, including a 13-5 record head-to-head this season that all but accounts for the nine-game gap in the standings.
Twins-White Sox has become perhaps the most lopsided rivalry in baseball and some time next week Minnesota will claim its sixth AL Central title in nine seasons under Ron Gardenhire. Remarkably, since losing Justin Morneau and his 1.055 OPS just before the All-Star break the Twins are an MLB-best 43-19 and are now very much in the mix with the Rays and Yankees for homefield advantage.

Braves trade David Hernandez to the Angels

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The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels have completed a minor trade: Atlanta is sending righty reliever David Hernandez to the Angels in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Hernandez hasn’t pitched in the big leagues this year. He’s pitched in seven games at Triple-A, allowing one earned run in eight innings of work. In seven years of big league work he’s got an ERA of 4.10 in 379 games. Last year he put up a 3.84 ERA in 70 games for the Phillies.

I’m assuming the PTBNL is not Mike Trout.

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

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The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.