CHICAGO -- The Twins' focus in recent weeks has been on maintaining their lead in the American League Central over the White Sox. And that will continue to be the case as the two clubs battle this week in their final three head-to-head matchups.
But while the division title is on the line for the Twins, so too is another prospective achievement -- the best record in the American League.
Following the Yankees' 8-7 victory over the Rays on Tuesday night, New York leads the league with 88 wins, followed by Tampa Bay (87) and Minnesota (86). It's a significant thing to note considering that the team with the best record in the AL would ensure home-field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs.
"Our No. 1 goal is to take care of our division, that's first and foremost," Twins center fielder Denard Span said. "But once we do that, I think that it is important to try to shoot for [the best record], especially if it's in reach. Going into the playoffs, if we can have home-field advantage, I think that's going to give you exactly what it says, an advantage. I think we're a better team at home."
The Twins' 48-23 record at home ranks first in the AL, just ahead of the Yankees' 49-25 mark. Despite changing home venues this year, the Twins have not lost their home advantage in the inaugural season at Target Field.
And there is no question that they'd like to have more contests at home if at all possible during a postseason run. The Twins could get some help in nearing that top record in the AL since the Yankees and Rays still are set to face each other six more times before the end of the regular season. But if there is a tie atop the league for wins, the Twins would lose the tiebreaker since they lost the season series to both the Yankees (2-4) and the Rays (3-5).
"We definitely don't play good against the AL East on the road, so if we can get home-field advantage, it could possibly be a series changer if we play more games at home," Span said. "We'll take getting to the playoffs any way we can, whether it's having home-field advantage or not, but if we can get that, I think it could help our chances."