Following the postponement of the final game of the series in Chicago, the White Sox and Tigers will each have 20 games remaining to determine the winner of the American League’s Central division, and likely the only team from the division to advance to the post season in 2012.
A quick look at those remaining 20 games apiece reveals what appears to be an advantage to the Tigers, at least on paper, judging by the won- loss records of their respective opponents and the number of home games remaining.
Here is why Detroit has the advantage:
- Detroit has 10 games remaining at home, and 10 on the road. Chicago has 8 home games left, and 12 on the road. That includes the one game in Chicago on Monday, when both teams will be in town for just one day. Advantage Detroit.
- Both teams play 3 games at Cleveland, 3 games in Minnesota, and 3 games at Kansas City. All even there.
- Detroit hosts Minnesota 3 games, Chicago hosts Cleveland 3 games. Call that a wash as they're co-cellar dwellers.
- Detroit hosts the Royals for 4 games, while Chicago hosts Tampa Bay 4 games. The Sox swept the Rays earlier in Tampa, but they’ll face the league’s stingiest pitching staff when they meet in Chicago.
- Detroit hosts Oakland 3 games while Chicago plays 3 in Anaheim. The Angels have been red hot lately, but the A’s have been even hotter since the All Star break, but Chicago goes to the west coast without a travel day before or after for the three game series.
Of course, things do not always go as expected, as both teams can attest after their most recent series against Kansas City.
Rob has put together a handy schedule with the projected starters for both teams and their opponents for the remainder of the season.
The Tigers now head to Cleveland for the last three games of a difficult ten game road trip. After the make up game in Chicago, Detroit then begins a stretch of ten games in the friendly confines of Comerica park. Chicago has just concluded a nine game home stretch, going 4-5, and now begins a nine game road trip, interrupted Monday by the make up game against Detroit.
If the two teams are tied at the end of the regular season, there will be a one game playoff to determine the division winner. That game would be in Detroit because the Tigers’ have a better record in games vs the White Sox this season.
I’ve given a list reasons for optimism about the Tigers’ chances of winning the division, most recently in this article. Add the schedule advantage to that list.