Coming into tonight’s Sunday showdown, the White Sox hold a one-game lead over the Tigers, who have taken the first two games of this all-important series between AL Central frontrunners. There can only be one division winner, and with all of the great teams in the American League, there is no guarantee that the runner-up in the division will be able to snag a Wild Card spot. So, tonight’s game and their four remaining head-to-head matchups are of the utmost importance.
Here are the keys for each team if they want to take home the divisional crown:
Keys for the White Sox:
1. Punish Bad Teams
Only 11 of their 29 remaining regular season games (excluding tonight) are against teams with a wining record. They cannot afford to let those teams steal games.
2. Veteran Presence
In my opinion, the most important veterans on this team are Konerko, Dunn, and Youkilis. Konerko and Youkilis’ deep Postseason experience should help them motivate the clubhouse.
3. Play Like the Favorite
The Tigers were the overwhelming favorites to win the division, but they have not lived up to expectations. However, the Tigers are on a hot streak. The White Sox need to continue to play like the frontrunners.
Keys for the Tigers:
1. Protect Miggy
Cabrera is the centerpiece of the Tigers’ offense, but other players need to play well around him to help him continue to get pitches to hit. Specifically, Fielder, Young, and Jackson need to step up.
2. Bottom of the Rotation
Verlander and Scherzer have been outstanding this year, but the bottom of their rotation has struggled mightily at times. They need to find some wins out of those pitchers down the stretch.
3. Lean on Experience
Detroit went on that unbelievable second half run last season, and they have a better top to bottom roster this year. They are the underdogs now, but they must play like they have been there before.
Tweet to @MLBFanCave and @KyleOKC with which team you think will end up winning the American League Central using the hash tag #MLBFC.