After Tonight


When the White Sox won the opener of this week’s series with Detroit, there was a chance they’d go on to sweep all four games and the A.L. Central race would have been over. Instead, they’ve dropped the last two games and their lead has been cut back to 1 game. No matter what happens tonight, most of the next three weeks are certain to matter, so it seems like a good time to examine each team’s remaining schedule.

I know teams like the Twins and Indians are capable of beating the White Sox and Tigers (Cleveland beat Detroit twice just last week, in fact), even the worst team wins 1 out of 3 over the long haul of a season (unless they’re the Astros). When bad teams play spoiler by beating good teams at the end of the year, it often gets a little more attention than would otherwise be expected, which makes it easy to exaggerate how frequently it happens. Some would have you believe it’s better to play good teams, because bad teams no longer feel any pressure. I think that’s bunk, give me a crappy opponent and I’ll take my chances.

White Sox remaining schedule:

3 @ Minnesota

Off day

3 @ Kansas City

3 @ Los Angeles

3 vs. Cleveland

4 vs. Tampa Bay

3 @ Cleveland

Weighted Opponents Winning %: .467

Tigers remaining schedule:

3 @ Cleveland

Off day

3 vs. Oakland

3 vs. Minnesota

4 vs. Kansas City

3 @ Minnesota

3 @ Kansas City

Weighted Opponents Winning %:  .455

Both teams play weak opponents, because the other teams in the A.L. Central are all weak. In terms of opponents, the real difference is that the Sox have four games against the Rays, while the Tigers have four games against the Royals. Advantage: Detroit

The Tigers have 10 games at home, 7 of them against bad teams. After tonight the Sox are down to just 7 more home games, only 3 of them against a bad team. Advantage: Detroit

Each team has just one off day remaining, this upcoming Monday, so there’s nothing to separate them there.

Obviously anything can happen over each team’s final 19 games. Last season proved that a 5 game deficit can be overcome in the final three weeks. Many thought the Tigers were going to run away with the division when the season began, and many thought the same thing when they swept the Sox in Detroit two weekends ago. Neither of those things happened, and so there’s certainly no certainty about what will happen over the rest of the season. It seems to me though, that Detroit has the easier remaining slate and so if the two teams are tied after tonight, they’d be in a better position.

All the more reason the Sox will just have to go out there and win tonight.