26 September 2012

The AL Central is tied, who has the advantage down the stretch?

After Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers cranked out a 2-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox fell to the lowly Cleveland Indians 4-3, the AL Central is tied for the first time since September 3rd. It's the tightest race down the stretch, who has the edge?

Don't confuse yourself thinking that the Tigers are hot as they have gotten a share of the division lead, it is more of a result of the White Sox looking awful of late. Chicago is 4-6 in their last ten games and have lost six of their last seven, while the Tigers are 5-5 in their last ten. As both clubs only have eight games remaining, this race likely will stay tight and could very well be decided on the last day and perhaps a tiebreaker next Thursday, which would likely have a tantalizing matchup of Justin Verlander and Chris Sale.

The White Sox have been inconsistent offensively of late and in games when they have struggled to score runs, their pitchers have been allowing a fair amount of runs, making for a disastrous scenario. Those offensive struggles need to change right away as they face one of the elite rotations in a four game set with Tampa Bay.

All season long, the questions with the Tigers have been trying to find a second arm in the rotation behind Justin Verlander but Sanchez's strong start last night is a plus as Max Scherzer has been up or down of late, Doug Fister appears to hitting his groove while Rick Porcello is perennially inconsistent.

As for both clubs' remaining schedules, the Tigers have the easier slate. Detroit has two more games with the Royals on the South Side before going on a roadtrip to Minneapolis and closing in KC while Chicago have one more with Cleveland at home before the aforementioned four game home series against a surging Tampa Bay team and closing in Cleveland. The key for this race is how the White Sox do this weekend against the Rays, as long as they split the series and get their offense in gear they should be all right.

If I had to pick a team in this race, I have to lean with Detroit since Chicago's recent slide as well as that series with Tampa Bay worries me. But I would be surprised if this series does not come down to the wire and a one-game playoff, that would be something else.

No comments:

Post a Comment