White Sox need to sweep Guardians for tie breaker


The White Sox are finally getting a leg up on the AL Central competition. 

The club surpassed the Minnesota Twins over the weekend with their fourth straight series win with a 3-1 series win over the Oakland A's. They defeated the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners and Twins in three-game series leading up to the A's four-game stretch on the road. 

Now, as of this writing, the Sox are 2.5 games back on the division-leading Cleveland Guardians. The division has been a tight race between the Sox, Guardians and Twins the entire season. But, if the Sox want some extra juice going into the final stretch, they need to beat the Guardians. 

The Sox are currently 6-9 against the Guardians this season. The first stipulation in breaking an overall record tie by the end of the regular season is comparing head-to-head records to determine the division winner. 

The South siders play the Guardians four more times in the last 21 games of the season. Only five of those 21 games are not against division opponents. That makes this final stretch all the more imperative to making the playoffs. 

They play the Guardians on the road once on Thursday, Sept. 15 as a makeup game from Aug. 21 and then five days later in a three-game series at home. 

The team is still awaiting the return of manager Tony La Russa from an indefinite absence due to a heart issue, which he flew to Arizona to have a pacemaker inserted. La Russa indicated his status to return to the dugout is "uncertain."

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Also, the Sox would love to get Tim Anderson back in the lineup. Anderson is seeing a hand specialist on Tuesday to see if he can start warming up into baseball activities. It's been nearly five weeks since the All-Star shortstop went on the injured list to have a sagittal band repaired in his left middle finger. His original timeline for return was 4-6 weeks. 

Elvis Andrus has been a great rental option for the Sox at shortstop and as the leadoff man in the batting order. But, the team would be better off with Anderson back in the lineup, and possibly placing Andrus elsewhere in the infield. 

In the month of August, the White Sox put the ball in play abundantly. They held the fifth-highest team batting average in MLB (.270), followed by the seventh-highest on-base percentage (.334) and fourth-most hits (267). 

Unfortunately, they've continued to struggle with power, which has been a challenge all season. They ranked in the bottom half of the league in slugging percentage and sixth-to-last in home runs for the month. 

Nevertheless, the team has momentum heading into the final weeks of the regular season. As aforementioned, they're coming off four series wins and have generous series against the Rockies and Tigers coming up. 

All that's needed is wins over the Guardians as insurance to a hopeful push for the division lead and automatic playoff berth. 

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