It was never meant to be easy.

The Minnesota Twins are striving to stay in first place in the AL West as The Globe 1991 fantasy replay league approaches the stretch drive.

Since our last report, The Twins have played 15 more games and won nine of them. That wasn’t good enough, however, to keep the Texas Rangers from gaining ground. The Rangers are now just four and a half games behind the Twins.

With no real major league baseball to follow, we are using OOTP-20, a comprehensive baseball simulation strategy game, to replay 1991. It was a year that, in real life, saw the Minnesotans win the West by eight games and go on to beat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.

We wanted to see if the Twins could do it again.

Currently, the Twins own an 84-45 record. Texas is 78-48, and the Chicago White Sox are clinging to hope with a 73-54 mark.

In the AL East, Boston is 74-53, Detroit is 67-61 and Milwaukee is 65-62. Over in the National League, Pittsburgh leads the East with an 80-45 record and St. Louis is just a game back at 79-46. In the West, it’s the L.A. Dodgers at 81-45 and San Diego at 71-56.

The Twins continue to hit well, and they lead the American League with a .270 batting average. Boston is next at .266. Oakland is the AL leader in pitching with a 3.39 team ERA, followed by California (3.53) and the Twins (3.57).

Kirby Puckett paces Twins hitters with a .322 batting average, and he also has 22 home runs. Kent Hrbek is at .311 and 13. Chuck Knoblauch is batting .310 and Brian Harper .306. Chili Davis has 31 home runs and leads the league with 96 RBIs. He’s hitting .299.

Jack Morris is enjoying an outstanding season in a Twins uniform with a 19-8 record and 2.99 ERA. His win total is three games more than the next-highest player, Bill Gullickson of Detroit. And Morris leads the league with 10 complete games and five shutouts.