Chicago White Sox Playoff Push: Sox Head into Weekend Alone in First Place

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Chicago White Sox Playoff Push: Sox Head into Weekend Alone in First Place
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox, fresh off of a three-game sweep of Minnesota and a day off, head to Texas as sole owners of first place in the AL Central in the first of a three-game series with the Rangers.

The White Sox were helped out by the Cleveland Indians who roughed up Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander for a four-run seventh inning Thursday night, and beat the Tigers 5-3. The Tigers were knocked out of first place for the first time since last Saturday, when they were in the midst of a three-game sweep of the White Sox.

While the White Sox now hold a slight half-game lead over the Tigers, the Indians trail the White Sox by 3.5 games. Following their late-inning outburst against Verlander and the Tigers, the Indians scored more than three runs in a game for the first time in their last seven games.

With the AL Central division lead back in their grasp, the White Sox travel to Texas to take on the AL West leading Rangers.

The Rangers will be looking to exact some revenge after the White Sox swept the Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field right before the All-Star break. The sweep included a 19-2 beat-down in the first game of that series.

For the second weekend in a row, the White Sox will be taking on a playoff powerhouse from last season. Last weekend, everything derailed for the White Sox in Detroit, punctuated by ace starting pitcher Chris Sale serving up a rare rough outing.

The White Sox received help from their division foes this week. The Indians won their series over the Tigers, and the Twins were kind enough to give up 26 runs in three games to the White Sox, as well as sending starter Nick Blackburn to the mound with his 7.99 earned run average in the series finale.

After their short stint at home this past week, the White Sox hit the road again Friday, continuing their 16-out-of-19 road game stretch following the All-Star break.

After the White Sox's sweep of the Twins at home this week, the team improved to 27-22 at U.S. Cellular Field. They have won eight out of their last nine games at home. With a nine-game homestand coming up in early August, it will be crucial for the White Sox to continue their winning ways at home while staying above .500 on the road.

Here is a preview of the White Sox's tough test in Texas this weekend, as well as news and notes affecting the team's playoff push.

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