CHICAGO -- And then it was 1.
That's where the White Sox elimination number sits as they approach the final three games of the season at Progressive Field in Cleveland after falling, 6-2, to the Rays on Sunday in their home finale at U.S. Cellular Field, while the Tigers rallied for a 2-1 victory at Target Field. Any Detroit win or White Sox loss and the season is over.
Hector Santiago gets the call Monday night, trying to begin what the White Sox hope is a miracle finish. Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd follow the rookie southpaw to the mound for the middle game and finale, respectively, but that could change if that elimination number hits zero on Monday or Tuesday.
"We've got to hope for [a miracle] these next three days, that's for sure," said White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham of his team featuring a 2-10 mark over its past 12 games. "Obviously, we wish weren't in this position, but we've still got a chance. We'll just have to keep fighting and hope for a lot of luck."
"You continue to play," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's one of the things we've done all year, continue to play regardless."
Monday's key games to watch (all times CT)
White Sox (Santiago, 3-1) at Indians (Kluber, 2-4), 6:05 p.m. Preview >
Tigers (Porcello, 9-12) at Royals (Chen, 11-13), 8:10 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: Friday
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1