Who Will Win the AL Central?
This season, the American League Central has been one of the most fascinating divisions in baseball. For most of the season, the Cleveland Guardians and the Minnesota Twins have led the division, despite the fact that the Chicago White Sox were the preseason favorite to win the AL Central.
However, over the past few weeks, the White Sox have given themselves an opportunity to win the division, and they are now second in the AL Central, three games behind the Guardians. The Twins are 1.5 games behind the White Sox, and all three teams are only separated by 4.5 games in the standings.
The AL Central’s Season So Far
Ahead of the season, the White Sox were expected to win the AL Central. Chicago won the division in 2021 and was expected to improve in 2022. However, the White Sox began the season with an 8-12 record in April, and they have spent most of the season behind both the Twins and Guardians in the standings.
However, the White Sox have played better during the past few months, and the team has a 9-4 record this month. As a result, the White Sox have given themselves an opportunity to win the division, and a series victory against the Twins at the start of this month began the end of the season on a positive note for the team.
The Twins spent most of the first few months of the season in first place in the division. Minnesota finished the first two months of the season 30-21, and they were in first place in the division as recently as September 4.
However, Minnesota has not played well during the second half of the season, and they are 21-26 during the second half of the year. There are also several important players currently on the injured list, including Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco.
During April, the Cleveland Guardians went 9-12, and a 12-12 record in May meant the team entered June three games below .500 in a season in which they weren’t expected to compete to win the division.
However, an 18-10 record in June has put Cleveland in a position to reach the playoffs. The Guardians took the lead in the division on August 7, and they have continued to establish themselves in the first place. Cleveland currently has an 8-2 record across its last 10 games.
Cleveland’s pitching staff has been excellent so far this year. Meanwhile, Andres Gimenez, Steven Kwan, Oscar Gonzalez, and Josh Naylor, who are all 25 years old or younger, have helped the Guardians offense have success this season.
Who Will Win the American League Central?
According to Tankathon, the Twins currently have the easiest remaining schedule in the division, but they are also currently in third place. However, of Minnesota’s 21 remaining games, 11 are against the White Sox or the Guardians. Those series will be crucial to the Twins’ hopes of making the playoffs.
While the Twins schedule is the easiest, it isn’t much easier than either the Guardians or White Sox schedules. According to Tankathon, the Twins schedule is the 26th most difficult remaining schedule in the MLB, while the Guardians’ is the 25th most difficult and the White Sox’s is the 24th most difficult.
However, the White Sox and Guardians have fewer games remaining within the division, and the two teams only play one three-game series against each other before the end of the season in addition to each team’s games against the Twins. Across each team’s last 20 games of the season, the Twins will have three more opportunities to play teams they are competing with to win the division.
With only 4.5 games separating each team within the standings, the final 14 matchups between these three teams throughout the rest of the season could determine who wins the division. Those 14 games could be some of the most exciting games of this MLB season.