White Sox stay close with Guardians and Twins in AL Central race
Despite having a mostly disappointing season, the Chicago White Sox remain in the chase to win the AL Central division title. At 68-67, the Sox are two games back of the first-place Cleveland Guardians and one back of the second-place Minnesota Twins.
Many commentators have suggested that the White Sox were “done” not too long ago and they probably would be right if they didn’t play in the worst division in baseball. Because of their division’s weaknesses, they are still in the race.
The AL Central has been nicknamed the “AL Mid” as many note the division’s lack of talent. The first-place Cleveland Guardians have a worse record than 4 of the American League East teams.
Because of this, three teams have managed to stay competitively close in the division race despite their mediocrity as none are good enough to pull far ahead.
The Chicago White Sox need to keep their winning ways going with a month left.
Here is a look at the current AL Central standings going into the games on September 6, 2022:
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
- Cleveland 69-64 .519
- Minnesota 68-65 .511
- Chicago White Sox 68-67 .504
- Kansas City 55-81 .404
- Detroit 51-84 .378
Based on their respective current paces, Cleveland would finish with 84 wins, the Twins with 83, and the White Sox with 82. Those typically aren’t the win totals of contending teams but the AL Central is the worst division in baseball.
An 82-win season would be pretty disappointing for White Sox fans so hopefully they go on a streak and win the 85+ games it’s going to take to win the division.
Unfortunately, we’ve been waiting for them to do that all year and they’ve never put it together. Their longest run was a 6-game winning streak earlier this year which was interrupted by the Josh Naylor game.
The Guardians look to win the division in their first year with their new nickname but have floundered recently against competitive teams like the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners. They finally broke their losing streak against lowly Kansas City on Monday.
The Twins were thought to have a chance at winning the division after signing Carlos Correa in the offseason and were in first place for much of the year but the team has been badly injured recently, causing them to tread water.
They moved into a tie back into first place thanks to the Guardians’ losing streak but then fell right back out of it thanks to a loss against their Achillies heel in the New York Yankees.
Any team can blame injuries but the Chicago White Sox have disappointed even when their guys are healthy.
The team has a 99 OPS+ and 101 ERA+ this season after having a 106 OPS+ and a 119 ERA+ last year in 2021. They’ve fallen off quite a bit and their run differential and head-to-head records are worse than the two teams ahead of them.
At this point, Cleveland should be considered the favorite to win the division but there’s still enough time that anything can happen.
Hopefully, the Chicago White Sox play their best baseball of the year and win the division title. Maybe interim manager Miguel Cairo and new addition Elvis Andrus can provide the spark needed for this to happen.