Where the Twins Need to Be on Sunday Night
My conclusion, essentially, is that the Twins need to be 1.5 back after tomorrow night's game. They will obviously need some luck for this to happen, as the Royals will need to cooperate (and the Rays will need to stop killing our starters). Why 1.5 back, you ask? Largely because I think a Twins sweep over the White Sox next week is unlikely, but that a 2-1 series win is very possible (and if the Twins can't at least win that series, they don't belong in the playoffs anyway). If they entered the series 1.5 back and then won the series 2-1, they'd be just a half game back going into the final series of the season.
That last series should favor the Twins. Minnesota plays the Royals at home, while the White Sox will be hosting Cleveland. Even though the Indians have had a down year, they still have far more firepower than the Royals have, and I think it's very possible for the Twins to either finish with the same record as the White Sox or win one more game in that last series. Either way, Chicago would then have to play Detroit the day after the season ended to determine whether a playoff was needed.
Again, many other paths to the playoffs are possible (I'd love it if the White Sox just layed down and lost every game they had left, for instance). This seems to me to be the most likely scenario for the Twins to get back to the post-season. Let's hope they at least make it exciting over the next 8 days.