Last Best Chance?
Phil Rogers speculates today that the Tigers may be falling even faster than the Sox, opening the door not only to the play-offs, but maybe to a division title. Even allowing for a complete and total regression to the mean, the Tigers have a 98% chance of making a post-season appearance. Rogers is wrong, the Tigers are still sitting pretty. They're better off in fact than the A's, who have a bigger divisional lead, because the Tigers would have to be passed by two teams to miss the play-offs.
No, the White Sox have a less than 1 in 20 chance of catching the Tigers. The team's only real shot at the post-season is to win what is now a two team race for the Wild Card against the Twins. Because of schedule, and a one-game lead in the loss column, the Twins are about twice as likely to win that race as the Sox.
Still, there is real hope. The Sox have a better than 1 in 3 chance of playing into October, which is more than anyone in the AL can say other than the Twins and the division leaders. And, the Tigers do have some real problems. Dmitri Young was giving them nothing, and has now been cut. Chris Shelton has returned from Toledo, where he continued to struggle. In fact, only Carlos Guillen has an on-base percentage over .340 for this team. They could easily be held to three runs a game for the rest of the season.
Plus, the schedule gives the Sox a few gifts. The most important may be this weekend, which is why I say the Sox have come upon their last, best chance. The Twins and Tigers meet four times this weekend, so come Monday, the post-season odds report could look very different. Given the odds of catching the Tigers, I'm actually rooting for Detroit to bludgeon the Twins.
But regardless of what happens in Minnesota, the Sox will be in a much better position Monday if they just take care of business against the Indians. And, no I don't care if the Indians are hot, or have won 7 of 12 against the Sox so far this year, the Sox need to be able to take 3 of 4 at home against a sub-.500 team. They've scored more runs than the Indians and allowed fewer this year. That should be a recipe for victories.
So this weekend, forget the out-of-town scoreboard. Whatever is happening there can only help the Sox, as long as they're collecting victories at South Side Park. And, hopefully on Monday, those post-season odds will look a whole lot better.