The Chicago White Sox have just five games left in the regular season, and although they’ve already clinched a playoff berth thanks to winning the American League Central Division, they’re still looking to potentially secure home-field advantage in the opening round of the postseason.
That will be a difficult task, however, as they trail the Houston Astros by two and a half games for the second-seed in the American League with less than a week to go in the regular season.
The White Sox are going to either earn the second seed or the third seed in the American League. The Tampa Bay Rays are one win or one Houston Astros loss away from clinching home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs, which means that the White Sox will in all likelihood face the winner of the American League West Division.
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The Astros’ magic number to clinch the West is just two, meaning that they will, barring a catastrophic collapse and a long Seattle Mariners winning streak, play the White Sox in the American League Division Series.
The Astros could still technically end their regular season in a tie with the Rays for the top record in the American League. The two teams will play each other in a three-game series this week, and if the Rays lose those three games, as well as their final three games of the season against the New York Yankees, then they could finish the season with an identical 97-65 record with Houston.
In that scenario, the Astros would earn the top seed due to their superior head-to-head record against Tampa.
Tampa Bay: 97-59
Houston: 91-65 (6 GB)
Chicago: 89-68 (8.5 GB)
The Road Ahead:
The Astros will have some work to do in order to lock up the second seed in the American League, but they’ll first have to focus on clinching their division. After a day-off Monday, they’ll try to end a four-game losing streak when they face the Rays in Houston on Tuesday night for the first game in a three-game series.
After that series, the Astros will welcome the A’s, who just swept them in Oakland, to Minute Maid Park for their final series of the season.
The White Sox will play a quick two-game interleague series against the Cincinnati Reds beginning Tuesday. They’ll then wrap up the regular season with a three-game series against the Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field over the weekend.
The first game of the American League Division Series is set for Thursday, Oct. 7. Game 2 will be played on Oct. 8, with the series resuming in the lower-seeded team’s home ballpark on Oct. 10.
Game 4 would be played Oct. 11, and Game 5 would be set for Oct. 13, if necessary.