That might not be the case, however. Minnesota took two of three from the Tigers at Comerica Park last weekend, including a sweep of a twin bill on Sunday. The Twins have played the Tigers tough this season, taking seven wins in 15 meetings, and have won five of their last nine games overall.
Clearly, this is a Minnesota ballclub not satisfied with simply playing out the September string.
"It's hard to be satisfied, with our team [near] last place," said first baseman Justin Morneau. "Hopefully next year, we'll be playing for something."
After taking sole possession of the top spot in the AL Central on Wednesday for the first since since July 23, the Tigers got a 5-4 walk-off win over the Royals on Thursday to stay there.
"I love our chances," catcher Gerald Laird said. "This team's got tremendous talent. One through five, I like our rotation. Our bullpen's strong. We've got two of the best hitters in the game. What's there not to like about this team?
"We have an exciting team. We just have to put it all together and catch the ball, and we're going to be fine."
The Tigers won't be taking the Twins lightly, that's for sure.
"We thought all along [the division race] was going to be a dogfight, and it is," said Tigers skipper Jim Leyland.
Tigers: Scherzer scratched from opener
Originally scheduled to face the Twins on Friday, Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer was scratched from the start with deltoid soreness, putting his stretch run and potential postseason availability in question.
The only timetable on Scherzer's return is when he can get the soreness out of his shoulder.
"It's just tough to say," Scherzer said. "I want to be able to, but at the same time, when you have a recurring injury like this, you can't get back onto the mound again before you're 100 percent. So at this stage, it's just a matter of how much I can recover from the strain and how fast I can."
Rookie left-hander Drew Smyly will start in Scherzer's place. Smyly received a no-decision in a spot start on Sunday against the Twins, holding Minnesota to an unearned run on three hits over 4 1/3 innings in just his second start since early July.
Twins: Diamond to take the hill
Scott Diamond (12-8, 3.64 ERA) has faced the Tigers twice this season. In both outings, he lasted seven innings while holding Detroit to two runs. He'll toe the rubber against the Tigers for a third time in Friday's series opener.
Righty Sam Deduno left his start against the Yankees on Wednesday after 30 pitches with left eye irritation.