CHICAGO -- The combination of a 3-1 home victory for the White Sox over the Rays on Friday night and the Tigers' 4-2 loss on the road to the Twins means the White Sox will not be eliminated from playoff contention during their final two home games. And with Detroit's road record at 34-42 and its last five games being played away from Comerica Park, the White Sox might not be eliminated at all.
Friday's victory ended a three-game losing streak for the White Sox and marked just their second win in the last 10 games. During that stretch, the White Sox have lost four games in the standings, but three straight losses by the Tigers to the Twins have kept Robin Ventura's crew in contention.
Chris Sale takes the mound for the White Sox on Saturday, with Matt Moore going for the Rays. Justin Verlander takes the baseball for the Tigers at Target Field, meaning both games are almost must-wins for the division contenders with their respective aces pitching.
But with just one game separating the two and a handful of games left on the 2012 regular-season ledger, all of these contests become must-wins.
"We're encouraged, we're pumped up," said White Sox starter Gavin Floyd, who got the win on Friday. "We're ready to go and will try to win tomorrow and see what happens."
"It's mentally exhausting. It's like we're playing in the playoffs right now and it's been like this for quite a bit," said White Sox right fielder Alex Rios, who delivered the game-winning homer in the fourth inning on Friday. "But you know what, it might be good because we're getting used to it. If we make it, and I think we're going to make it, it's going to help us because our minds are going to be in that mindset. It's going to be good."
Saturday's key games to watch (all times CT)
Tigers (Verlander, 16-8) at Twins (Walters, 2-4), 3:05 p.m. Preview >
Rays (Moore, 10-11) at White Sox (Sale, 17-7), 3:05 p.m. Preview >
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