Chicago White Sox: 7 Reasons Why This Team Can Still Win AL Central
For some unexplained reason, the White Sox have yet to die.
At 5.5 games back, the likelihood of the White Sox winning the division gets slimmer by the day. Yet Chicago is staying in it.
There are a little less than 40 games left in the regular season, and if history tells us anything, we could be in for another wild month of September.
Here are some of the reasons why you might see the Chicago White Sox win the American League Central.
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Of the remaining 36 games left on the season, the White Sox will play six against Detroit and eight against Cleveland. Those games may cause a lot of shifting around the division.
The White Sox have played better lately against Detroit, going 4-2 against the Tigers since the All-Star break. These teams are wildly inconsistent, which should make for an interesting remaining few series for the clubs.
The Indians took two of three from the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field recently, but Chicago has done well against them overall. The teams will play two important four-game series in September.
The best thing about the remaining games for the White Sox is the lack of teams with records over .500 that will be on the schedule. The toughest series left for Chicago starts tonight in Anaheim, but even that series is only two games. If the White Sox have taught us anything this season, though, it's that you can't always expect victories against lowly teams like the Royals or Twins.
2. September Call-Ups
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When the rosters expand from 25 to 40 on September 1, the White Sox will have many new young faces in the dugout.
The youth will give a chance for the aging veterans to take a breather here or there, and with a lack of production from Alex Rios and Adam Dunn, these youngsters could fill in nicely.
Dayan Viciedo has been tearing up AAA pitching all year long in Charlotte. He'll be a full-time big leaguer next season, so this September stretch may be a big learning experience for Viciedo. The White Sox could use his offense.
Lastings Milledge, Jordan Danks and Dallas McPherson will also be in the big leagues soon enough, and their presence in September could make a huge difference. All have done well this season for the Charlotte Knights. These additions will bring speed, defense and power.
3. Team Still Hasn't Really Hit Their Stride
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Yes, I know, we're all still waiting for it. One day this season, the White Sox are going to take off, but it still has yet to happen.
The team went 9-2 after getting swept four straight by the Yankees, but the White Sox are missing a great run. A stretch of six or seven straight is unlikely to happen again, but if it did, it could do wonders for Chicago.
The team is still within reach of the top, but before it completely floats into oblivion, it needs to string off a few victories in a row.
White Sox fans have longed to see it happen much this year, but a decent winning streak could put Chicago right there with Detroit.
4. Detroit Won't Pull Away
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The Detroit Tigers have been good as of late, currently riding a four-game winning streak and taking a nearly commanding 5.5 game lead in the division. It seems like they're beginning to take control of the division, but when you think about where the team should be considering how bad Cleveland and Chicago have been, it's hard to take this team too seriously quite yet.
They're a good team, but they've failed to bury the competition in a very winnable division. The Tigers are just as susceptible to suffer a four-game losing streak as they are to win four in a row.
Unless the Tigers dismantle the Indians or White Sox in their divisional games, this division race could go down to the last weekend.
5. A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Qunetin Will Be Back from Injury Soon
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A.J. Pierzynski will likely be back from the DL on September 2. He has been there since he suffered an injury to his left wrist on August 16.
His .296 average, which is best by an American League catcher, has been missed by the White Sox, and he will play another vital role in the White Sox run for a division title.
He, like Pierzynski, has been one of the few consistent hitters for the White Sox all season. He is listed as day-to-day, but even a few games can make a difference due to the lack of performance from the White Sox's other power hitters.
These players could make or break the White Sox's chances for a division title. The sooner they're back, the better off Chicago is.
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Pitching has kept the White Sox afloat all season long, both from the starting rotation and the bullpen. Gavin Floyd and Mark Buehrle have been phenomenal all season, while John Danks is starting to return to form.
Peavy has still had us scratching our heads, and his next few starts will play a big part in determining what the White Sox do in September.
The White Sox have depth in the rotation with Philip Humber and Zach Stewart available to start too. If at any time a White Sox starter fails to perform, the White Sox could sub-in either to try and stay in contention.
The bullpen will continue to give the White Sox the close wins they need to stay in the race. Jesse Crain, Chris Sale and Sergio Santos have all been tremendous so far this season for Chicago.
Pitching is the way to win any division. The White Sox will need to capitalize on theirs to make it to October.
7. The White Sox Never Fall out of Conention, Even When They're Supposed to
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After the White Sox lost six of seven at home to the Yankees and Red Sox earlier this month, the team was supposed to mail it in and start thinking about next year. The team then decided to win nine of their next 11, shoving them right back in the middle of the AL Central race.
When it comes down to it, the White Sox won't go away. They've done the same thing the last two seasons. Though they failed to make the playoffs in both years, Chicago hung on until late September.
Even if they fail to win the division this year, you can count on some exciting games in the last month of the season for the White Sox.
Perhaps their delusional persistence will pay off. It's too hard to tell right now, but if the White Sox do everything right down the stretch, they could crash the playoff party.