Posted 08/08/2011 at 06:13 PM
The White Sox still have a long ways to go but last weekend’s sweep in Minnesota might provide the momentum that Chicago needs to get back in the AL Central picture. It will not be easy to pick up ground on the Tigers as Detroit has a very favorable closing schedule, but Chicago has an opportunity in the next few weeks as they look to cut into the current 5.5 game lead that the Tigers have.
The next four games for Chicago are in Baltimore and then they host a nine-game set with Kansas City, Cleveland, and Texas. Obviously the Rangers are a dangerous team but the Sox could pick up some ground on the Indians with the home set. The White Sox then have a five-game road trip out west with two against the Angels and three in Seattle. Chicago’s pitching is good enough to match those teams and the White Sox offense is showing some signs of coming to life.
The make-or-break stretch for the White Sox starts in late August where they play three at home against Minnesota, then three in Detroit, four in Minnesota and then a home stand with four games against Cleveland and a three against the Tigers. Whether or not Detroit runs away with the division or we have an exciting three-team race to the finish should be determined in those games.
If the White Sox can pick up some ground to keep things interesting the closing schedule is favorable with seven games against the Royals in the last 14 games and the final six games are home games with three against Kansas City and the final three with Toronto.
Minnesota had owned Chicago in recent years so the sweep at Target Field was a huge momentum jolt for the White Sox and in terms of run differential there is not much separating Chicago from Detroit. The White Sox have had the best pitching in the division by a wide margin and Chicago is also the only team in the division with a winning road record. The run may be coming much later than expected but the White Sox should be in position to get above .500 in the next few weeks and it shouldn’t take much stronger than that to win the division.