Looking ahead at the schedule for the Chicago White Sox, one thing is certain. June is the month for the Sox to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the AL Central.
What shape the Sox are in the next time they face a division opponent, which is not until the last week of the month against the Minnesota Twins, is completely up to them.
Make no mistake about it; June could become a Sox fans delight or a time of great misery.
Entering the series against the Toronto Blue Jays, Paul Konerko and company have relatively light lifting for the rest of the month. Combined, the Sox opponents have a winning percentage of just .473 with only four teams playing plus .500 baseball right now.
The month’s greatest challenges are going to be the week long road trip to St. Louis and to L.A. to face the Dodgers and the month ending series in New York against the Yankees. A record of 5-4 during those contests would be quite nice as long as they can keep beating the teams they are supposed to.
Can a division be won in June?
Detroit and Cleveland, on the other hand, have much more challenging schedules in June.
The Tigers get to end their month wits sets against the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays along with a series against the NL Central leading Cincinnati Reds. All said, six of the eight teams Detroit plays this month, including the Indians, are over .500 and have a combined winning percentage of .506.
Cleveland meanwhile has the most difficult schedule of the division front-runners during June. With two series against the Reds along with tilts against the Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals, the Indians have a brutal schedule. Throw the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit into the mix and Cleveland’s opponents have a combined .517 winning percentage. Ouch.
If the Sox can go 16-8 the rest of the way this month, they will head into July 16 games over .500 and in control of their destiny the rest of the way out.
The Sox need to capitalize on the great beginning to the season and build some separation between themselves and their competition.
June is a make or break month for the Sox.