CHICAGO – There is one mistake that many try not to make when it comes to baseball, and that is writing off a team as finished in a year when there is still time for a comeback.
But Tuesday’s loss by the White Sox in extra innings to the Guardians is only going to make their road to the playoffs more difficult.
The 10-7 win in 11 innings by Cleveland not only gives them a five-game lead in the American League Central division but also the series win over the White Sox. That means that they would win the first tiebreaker should the clubs finish even at the top of the division at the end of the season.
Remember, expanded playoffs mean no “Game 163,” so really the White Sox are six games out of the lead in the AL Central with just 14 games left to play.
Impossible? No, but it would take quite a finish by the White Sox along with a major turn in fortune for the Guardians, who are 13-3 in their last 16 games. Starting that road begins on Wednesday and Thursday when the teams meet two more times this season.
Should they fall short, fans will look at Tuesday as perhaps being the moment that encapsulates a frustrating season for a club that has not lived up to expectations.
After a good start by Dylan Cease, the White Sox built a 3-1 lead only to see it disappear in the seventh inning. In the tenth, Cleveland got a pair of runs to grab the lead, but the White Sox got it tied again, with Jose Abreu delivering the two-out hit off MLB saves co-leader Emmanuel Clase.
But the Guardians got to reliever Jake Diekman for five runs in the 11th, which were enough to clinch a critical victory for them in their pursuit of the AL Central title. While it’s not over for the White Sox, a difficult road got even harder for the club on Tuesday night.