There’s not a whole lot to analyze at this late point of the season.
Since the Tigers held off the Royals today, they now sit 1 ½ games ahead of the White Sox, who have seven games to play.
The Sox open a four-game home series vs. the Tampa Bay Rays tonight at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox know what they have to do.
“We have to win games,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “There's nothing else to it or any other explanation or thing you can say or do. The rest will take care of itself. If we win every game and they (Tigers) win every game, then we just didn’t get it done. But if we win every game and they lose a couple we'll be where we want to be.”
That’s about all there is to say.
As for the Rays, they are fighting for a wild-card spot and are 2 ½ games out heading into tonight’s game.
The second-place White Sox are 5 ½ games behind in the wild-card race, so they are obviously focused on catching Detroit and winning the AL Central.
With a seven-game winning streak, Tampa Bay is the hottest team in baseball at the moment.
And tonight’s starter, James Shields, is 7-2 with a 2.16 ERA over his last 10 starts.
Jake Peavy opposes Shields tonight, and he’s going to have to pitch a great game if the Sox hope to keep their hopes alive.
Shields did start against the White Sox in Tampa on May 29 and the right-hander took the loss after allowing 6 runs (5 earned) on 10 hits in 6 innings.
In 10 career starts vs. the Sox, Shields is 3-3 with a 4.95 ERA.
Shields throws one of the better changeups in baseball, so Sox hitters are going to need good timing if they hope to do any damage.