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Twins clinch AL Central title for first time since 2010

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The Twins clinched the AL Central title on Wednesday thanks to their own 5-1 win over the Tigers as well as the Indians’ 8-3 loss to the White Sox. It’s the Twins’ first division title since 2010, putting them back in the playoffs for the first time in two years.

Wednesday’s contest was a breeze for the Twins as starter Randy Dobnak allowed a lone unearned run on one hit with no walks and six strikeouts against the lowly Tigers. The bulk of the offense came on a Luis Arraez two-run homer in the seventh and another two-run homer in the eighth from Eddie Rosario.

The Tigers’ loss clinched for them the worst record in baseball, meaning they will have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft.

The Astros and Yankees are still battling it out for the best record in the American League. The Twins will face whichever of the two teams has the worse record, which right now would be the Yankees. The Twins have famously not fared well against the Yankees in the postseason:

  • Lost 2017 AL Wild Card game to Yankees 8-4
  • Swept in 2010 ALDS by Yankees
  • Swept in 2009 ALDS by Yankees
  • Lost 2004 ALDS 3-1 to Yankees
  • Lost 2003 ALDS 3-1 to Yankees

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.