Detroit didn't give the White Sox American League Central title quest much help on Tuesday, blasting the A's by a 12-2 final at Comerica Park, despite losing staff co-ace Max Scherzer after two innings because of right shoulder fatigue. With 10 straight home games for the Tigers, Robin Ventura's AL Central-leading crew has to take care of its own business, as it did in a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
"I think the finish line is close," White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham told reporters in Kansas City. "But we can't really focus on anything like that. We've just got to focus day by day going out there and making sure that we get prepared enough to go out there and hopefully win a ballgame. That's all that should matter and all we should be thinking about."
Tuesday's win came behind three solo home runs from Alejandro De Aza, Beckham and Alex Rios and great pitching from Gavin Floyd. The right-hander needed just 78 pitches to cover seven innings and according to MLB.com Gameday, he was hitting 94 mph with the fastball as late as four pitches from his finish.
Five straight wins, including four straight on this nine-game road trip interrupted by Monday's makeup game victory over the Tigers, dropped the White Sox magic number to 13 to eliminate Detroit and held their division lead at three games. Chris Sale goes for win No. 18 in his first year as a starter, while White Sox crusher Bruce Chen takes the mound for the Royals on Wednesday.
"This whole season has been something that I've never experienced," Rios told reporters. "Every day when you come to the field it means something. It means that you have to come and do something good to try to win games. It's been a [great] season."Wednesday's key games to watch (all times CT)
White Sox (Sale, 17-6) at Royals (Chen, 10-12), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
A's (Anderson, 4-1) at Tigers (Verlander, 14-8), 6:05 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1