While there are 162 games in the regular season, more often than not, the teams that make the playoffs have terrific records against their division foes. As I recently said in Carlos Sanchez Brings Hope to the South Side, the Sox are not expected to be playing come late October, but if they want to prove everyone wrong, they better start turning it around in the division.
As of May 30, the White Sox are 12-19 against their AL Central rivals. It’s not the worst division record in baseball, but it’s nowhere near where it needs to be to compete for the postseason. For comparison purposes, in 2005, when the White Sox made that magical run through the playoffs and won the World Series, the South Siders were 52-22 in the division, the best division record in all of baseball.
Over the last three years, it’s clear that the team with the best division record in the AL has the best odds of contending in the postseason.
In 2014, the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers held the best division records in their respective divisions and all went to the playoffs. In 2013, the Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics and Detroit were all at least 12 games over .500 with Boston and Detroit holding the best AL East and AL Central records. Same story holds true in 2012.
Jumping back to 2015, the White Sox records thus far versus AL Central teams are:
- Minnesota Twins: 3-7
- Detroit Tigers: 3-3
- Kansas City Royals: 2-4
- Cleveland Indians: 4-5
Against the rest of the AL, the Sox are 8-2.
With a big division emphasis towards the end of the season, the schedule doesn’t get any easier. The Sox still have 45 games against their Central rivals, including 13 against Detroit and Kansas City, both of whom are expected to make the playoffs.
If the Sox have any hopes of making it to the postseason, they better turn things around in their own division.