The Chicago White Sox could potentially become the first baseball team to clinch a playoff spot on Wednesday night, as their magic number to lock up a spot in the postseason stands at just two entering today’s action.
The White Sox, who have won six games in a row, have a three-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central race, and are looking to put a stranglehold on the division as they continue that series this evening.
Here is where things stand heading into Wednesday’s action:
White Sox Magic Number: 2
The White Sox can inch closer to clinching a playoff spot tonight with a win over the Twins, but they’ll also need some help if they want to officially punch their ticket into the postseason.
They've already gotten some of that help, as the Detroit Tigers lost to the Kansas City Royals. Now, if the White Sox beat the Twins and the Seattle Mariners lose to the San Francisco Giants, the Sox are officially locked into the postseason.
Even if that doesn’t happen, the White Sox can still clinch with two more victories, so if they can sweep the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field, they’ll be heading back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Chicago’s magic number to clinch the American League Central is currently at nine after their victories over the Twins.
Some may wonder why Chicago’s magic number is only two instead of three, and the reason is this: due to MLB’s tiebreaker rules this season, which eliminated play-in games if ties occur in the standings, the White Sox hold an insurmountable tiebreaker lead on the Tigers (via head-to-head record) and the Mariners (via intra-divisional record) this season.
If the Season Ended Today….
The White Sox, currently sitting in the top spot in the American League, would play the eighth-seeded Cleveland Indians if the season ended today. Thanks to their recent winning streak, the Sox are building a bit of a lead on the Rays for the top record in the American League, currently leading Tampa by two games.
The Twins are likely not thrilled with their current standing, as they would be stuck playing the New York Yankees if the season ended today. The top three seeds in the American League are reserved for division winners, meaning that even if the Twins barely miss out on the division crown, they would still potentially face a very difficult opponent in round one.
White Sox fans will need to steel themselves for this weekend, as they’ll be rooting for the Cubs as they take on the Twins. Meanwhile, the White Sox will have two more games against Minnesota before welcoming the Reds to the South Side this weekend for a three-game series.