The Grandstand: Crunch time begins in the AL Central race

We're finally into the first week of September and our postseason race in the AL Central is a tight and exciting one.

For some people on the outside looking in at this race, they feel that certain moves made in the past few weeks mean that a team is out of the race. But a majority of our games remaining this month are head-to-head matchups in the division, so as teams sweep a series or get swept, a lot of ground can me made or lost quickly.

Nothing's over yet. We still have two more series apiece with Minnesota and Chicago, the next two teams behind us in our division. Lately, a lot of people have been saying that the season is over for both of these teams. However, I feel the opposite. Of our remaining 29 games, seven are with the Twins and six with the White Sox. While the White Sox just traded away a big bat in Jim Thome(notes), there is still a lot of fight left in that team. Bigger deficits have been made up this time of the season. Just ask the Phillies and Rockies from recent years.

Over the past decade, the Twins have made several strong pushes in September and you can never count them out. Remember: In 2006 they were the ones that overtook us in the last week of the season to win the division and send us to a wild card berth.

Another thing to consider is that all of us still have to play Kansas City and Cleveland, two very tough teams in our division. Even though their places in the standings aren't where they want to be, those teams aren't just going to lie down and hand us a victory. We just swept the Indians this week, but we also caught some breaks in those three games. The Royals not only have a core of good, young players, but also the favorite to win the AL Cy Young right now in Zack Greinke(notes).

With just under 30 games left to play in this 2009 season you can easily see that a few teams still have a shot. So to fans and writers of AL Central, I'd really encourage you to get behind your team and stay confident until it is finally over. It's going to be an exciting finish.

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Curtis Granderson plays center field for the Detroit Tigers and his blog will appear regularly on Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew during the 2009 season. Make sure to check out and support his Grand Kids Foundation. His previous posts can be read here.

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