Only four games remain in the regular season with nothing decided yet in the American League playoff picture.
The White Sox enter Sunday trailing the Detroit Tigers by two games in the AL Central–but the other divisions also have not been decided despite strong winning records for the current leaders, the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, each with 91 victories.
The Rangers play a double header Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels because of a Saturday rainout. The Angels are in contention for a wild card spot. So are the Oakland Athletics–but the A’s also could catch the Rangers to win the West division outright.
The Tampa Bay Rays must win Sunday against the Sox to keep their playoff hopes alive. If the Rays lose and Oakland wins Sunday against Seattle, the Rays will be eliminated. If the Rays win, they might still need to sweep the Orioles in their final three games and have the Yankees and Oakland lose all or one of their remaining games.
“From my perspective, if you give in to the idea of you need help [from other teams] and the odds are against you, it’s not going to happen,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “I don’t think in those terms. I believe it’s going to come back to us.”
The Sox would still be alive with a loss Sunday and a Tigers win, down by three games with three to play. If the Central challengers end the regular season in a tie, the tie-breaker game would be Thursday in Detroit.
The Sox finish the season at Cleveland while the Tigers will be in Kansas City after Sunday’s game in Minnesota.