Re-assessing the Race: Tigers vs. White Sox


The Chicago White Sox run atop the AL Central this summer seemed to be inevitably short lived.  The popular belief was that the more talented Tigers would get hot, pass the Sox, and never look back.  As if scripted, the Tigers roared out of the All-Star break with wins in eight of their first ten games, culminating in a three game sweep of the White Sox.  Once in first place, however, the realities of this Central Division race have become apparent.

White Sox are here to stay

The White Sox are a very talented team.  Several White Sox are having great seasons, and it can no longer be expected that these players will come back to earth.  The middle of the line up is formidable, with Youkilis, Dunn, Konerko, Rios, and Pierzynski.  The supporting cast continues to perform well, notably youngsters Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo.  The starting pitching lacks a true ace, but in Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, and Fransisco Liriano, they have lots of quality pitching.  The White Sox will not fall apart; the Tigers will have to pass them.

Schedule Comparisons: Tigers/White Sox:

Home games:                                    32/32

Road games:                                     25/26

Vs. sub 500 teams:                          31/31

Vs. over 500 teams:                         26/27

Vs. sub 500 teams at home:          16/15

Vs. over 500 teams on road:          10/10

This comparison shows a very even schedule.  So perhaps it will come down to the seven head to head match-ups remaining.  One advantage for the Tigers may come after their last four game series against the White Sox.  19 games will remain for each team after their final game against each other, and if the race is still close, the Tigers hold an edge down the stretch.

Last 19 Games: Tigers/White Sox:

Home games:                        10/7

Road games:                         9/12

vs. KC/Minn:                        13/6

vs. contenders:                      3 (vs. Oakland)/7 (at Angles, vs. Tampa Bay)

Ace in the Hole?

The Tigers possess one final advantage in the form of Cy Young/MVP Justin Verlander.  However, projecting Verlander’s starts for the rest of the season, he would not face the White Sox in either of their two remaining series.  In each case, he would miss them by one start.  Look for the Tigers to skip someone’s start this month, moving Verlander up one day.  That way, Verlander would start the last game of each series against the White Sox and would be in line to pitch the final game of the season (if needed) or the first postseason game (one game playoff?)


The Tigers win four out of the seven head to head games versus the White Sox, but still trail them by one or two games after their final series ends September 13.  The Tigers then go on to win 14 out of their last 19 games to pass the White Sox and win the Central by one game.