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Sox Clinch!!!

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 29, 2005 9:13PM

Chicagoist had to go into a dept. meeting with the White Sox leading 4-2 in the bottom of the 8th and had to wait an excrutiating hour and a half to find out whether they finally clinched the AL Central. What a relief when we got back to our desk to see the final score! Wrapping up this division title took a little longer than Chicagoist expected a few weeks ago, but the White Sox finally cliched the AL Central with their 4-2 victory over the Tigers this afternoon. The Sox, probably anxious to end any talk of a choke jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the 2nd inning and held on, with rookie Bobby Jenks making things interesting in the 9th before closing out the Tigers.

In spite of the White Sox August and September slumps and Cleveland's torrid second half, the Sox finally assured that they'll reach the postseason. It no longer matters that the Tribe cut a 15-game August 1st lead down to 1 1/2 games at one point last week. The title's ours!

At 96-63, the Sox can finish no worse than 96-66 should the Indians sweep them this weekend. Should Cleveland win out they'd finish 96-63 as well. By virtue of their having won their head-to-head season series against Cleveland, the Sox win the division.

But the Wild Card race complicates how the playoff scenario will play out. The AL East is a neck and neck race between Boston and New York, with the Yankees holding a one game lead. These two competitors for the AL East crown play each other to close out the season, too. How does MLB do that? Anyway, there's the possibility that one of those teams and the Indians could face each other in a one-game playoff for the Wild Card spot should they finish with identical records. Who the Sox face next depends on the Wild Card winner since teams can't play division rivals in the opening round of the playoffs. If Cleveland wins, the Sox face the Angels. If New York or Boston are the Wild Card, then the Sox would play that team.

Now would be a good time for Chicagoist to revisit our pre-season predictions. While the Sox had to win a few more games than we'd thought, we were correct in picking them to win it all when not many of the experts game them a shot in hell. And we were right to predict their success would be dependent on their strong rotation and the small ball movement. While the Twins faded down the stretch due to injuries, we mentioned that Cleveland's young core talent was maturing. And how! Detroit wasn't as good as many expected and nobody was fooled by the Royals showing.

Photos via Yahoo!News