The 2012 AL Central crown is waiting for the Chicago White Sox to claim. Anytime that they feel like doing so would be fine because a wild-card berth is absolutely unacceptable.
Now, getting into the postseason is the goal at the beginning of the season and however that happens should not matter because once a team is in the dance anything can happen, just ask the 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.
But for this Sox team, sneaking in as the second Wild Card is a recipe for disaster.
For starters, it would mean a one-game playoff with, most likely, either the Oakland A’s or the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s have flat out killed the Sox all year and going to Oakland to face one of their ferocious starters is a less-than-ideal proposition.
More importantly, the White Sox have either held the lead in the division or been tied for it every day since July 24 and to let that slip away is tantamount to failure. The Tigers have had every opportunity to take this division from the Sox and have not.
Now is the time for the White Sox to say “Thank you very little,” and take what is theirs.
Yes, they should be able to beat the Royals. They have seldom done that over the last couple of years, but they should be able to.
They will also play three at the Los Angeles Angels and have a four-game series, at home, versus the Tampa Bay Rays. Tougher series, to be sure, but the White Sox are more than capable of winning at least four of those games.
Can the Sox succeed in the postseason without winning the division?
With 11 more victories in the final 17 games, the Sox would have 90 wins on the season, which should be enough to take the Central.
Following Monday’s victory over the Detroit Tigers, the Sox have a three-game lead in the division and control of their own destiny.
Right now, White Sox, right now.
Put your foot down and take the division already because the Wild Card is not an option.