Dealing with the loss of a star player is always a difficult hurdle for a team to overcome. Thanks to Justin Morneau's lingering symptoms from a collision at second with Blue Jays infielder John McDonald, the Twins now face the prospect of entering the playoffs for the second straight year without their star first baseman. Morneau is going through a full workout today, and could be cleared to play, but it's still unclear how effective he'll be if he does. And even though the Twins have cruised to the AL Central title without their star first baseman, he was hitting .345/.437/.618 when he went down, and those type of numbers are hard to replace.
The Twins have been fortunate in one respect -- they had enough time to get Michael Cuddyer comfortable at first and to see just how bad Jason Kubel would be defensively as a full-time outfielder. But over the course of history, losing a star hitter prior to the playoffs has far less impact than you'd imagine.