The San Francisco Giants became the first MLB team to clinch a playoff spot on Monday, but the Chicago White Sox likely aren’t going to be far behind them, as their magic number to clinch the American League Central Division crown is now in the single digits.
The White Sox, who are seeking back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in team history, are looking for their first division crown since 2008.
Here is where things stand heading into action on Tuesday.
American League Central Standings:
Chicago White Sox – 82-61
Cleveland Indians – 69-72 (12 GB)
Detroit Tigers – 68-76 (14.5 GB)
White Sox Magic Number: 9
The White Sox are inching closer and closer to a division title, as the Indians have lost three games in a row and gone 2-8 in their last 10 games.
The White Sox have been treading water a bit as of late, going 5-5 in their last 10 games, but with several key injuries, the team is methodically preparing itself for an October run, letters starters rest and recuperate rather than rushing any players back.
The White Sox still trail the Tampa Bay Rays by 6.5 games for the top spot in the American League, but the Houston Astros have closed the gap a bit, trailing Tampa by 4.5 games for that distinction.
If the Season Ended Today…
As has been the case for quite some time, the White Sox would still be in line to face the Astros in the American League Division Series, with the first two games of that best-of-five set taking place at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
The Sox currently trail the Astros by two games for the second spot in the American League.
The Rays, meanwhile, would face the winner of the American League Wild Card Game, but that race is as close as ever, as five teams are within two and a half games of those two playoff spots. The Toronto Blue Jays have a one-game lead in the race to host that game, while the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are deadlocked for the second spot.
The Yankees currently hold the tiebreaker thanks to a superior winning percentage.
The Road Ahead
After a day off Monday, the White Sox will start out a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. They’ll face Shohei Ohtani in the series finale Thursday. They’ll then head to Texas to take on the Rangers in a three-game set beginning Friday.
The Indians have a doubleheader against the Twins on Tuesday, meaning it’s possible the White Sox could trim their magic number all the way down to 6 with a win and two Cleveland losses. After Cleveland wraps up their series in the Twin Cities on Wednesday, they’ll head to New York for three games against the Yankees.
The Rays, who have lost four of their last five games, will try to right the ship with two more games against the Blue Jays north of the border, then will head home for a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers.
The Astros will have three more games against the Rangers this week before heading home to take on the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-game series.