Last year, they were 2.5 games back and were starting a 3-game set with the White Sox. This year, they're 2 games back and are starting a 4-game set with the Tigers. Last year they played the series at home; this year they'll be on the road. Last year, the Twins made the series matter by playing horribly and letting the White Sox stay in it; this year, they made it matter by putting it all together just in time.
With tonight's game rained out, they'll be playing a doubleheader starting at noon ET today. I'm sure you know the math, but just to reiterate: the Twins need to win 3 games to put themselves in good position or sweep it to essentially put the nail in Detroit's coffin. Splitting the series would put them in dire straights, and winning fewer than that would be the end for Minnesota.
And then, just as anti-climatically as last year, they'll host Kansas City for three games to end the season. Hopefully they'll matter just as much as they did last year, but return a different outcome.