The Chicago White Sox are closing in on their first division title in 13 years, with their magic number standing at just four as they head into action on Monday.
Here are the latest updates from the Sox pursuit of a playoff position.
American League Central Standings:
Chicago White Sox – 85-64
Cleveland Indians – 73-74 (11 GB)
Detroit Tigers – 72-78 (13.5 GB)
White Sox Magic Number: 4
The White Sox could clinch the division title as soon as Tuesday, and it already appears that they’ll get at least a little bit of help on Monday.
The Indians, scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field, are losing in the first game of the day, meaning that the White Sox magic number could drop to three before they take the field against the Tigers.
If the White Sox win, and if the Indians lose both games on Monday, then the Sox would have a magic number of one, meaning that they are guaranteed no worse than a tie in the Central division race.
If the Season Ended Today:
The White Sox have slipped to three games back of the Houston Astros for the second seed in the American League, and with 12 games to go in the regular season, it would be a tough climb back into a spot that would allow them home-field advantage in the American League Division Series.
As things stand now, the White Sox would play the Astros in a best-of-five series, with the Tampa Bay Rays taking on the winner of the American League Wild Card Game, which as of Monday would be contested between the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.
The Road Ahead:
The White Sox will kick off a three-game series in Detroit on Monday night, and it is possible that they can clinch the division during those three games.
If they don’t, then they would have a great opportunity to do so in Cleveland, with a five-game set against the Indians starting up on Thursday night at Progressive Field.
The Indians are in the midst of a four-game series against the Royals before welcoming the White Sox to town on Thursday.
The Astros will look to continue their chase for the top spot in the American League when they open a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in California on Monday. The Rays, who still hold the lead over the Astros in that race, will kick off a three-game series against the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on Monday, then will host the Marlins for a three-game set beginning Friday.