The Chicago White Sox clinched the AL Central title for the second straight year, making them one of the few teams in baseball to make the playoffs both years.
The Chicago White Sox clinch AL Central title, second straight playoff appearance is a headline that was published by the Chicago Tribune. It is an article about the Chicago White Sox clinching the AL Central division title and their second consecutive playoff appearance.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — On Thursday, the Chicago White Sox won the American League Central championship with a 7-2 win against the Cleveland Indians, who were in second place.
The celebration on the field was muted, in part because the clubs needed to play Game 2 of their doubleheader, but also because the White Sox had far higher ambitions. They qualified for the playoffs as a wild card club in 2020, but were eliminated in the first round.
Shortstop Tim Anderson stated on the field after the game, “Last year left a bad taste in our mouth, so it was on us to come back.” “And we succeeded.”
After losing in the first round to the Oakland Athletics, Chicago moved on to acquire former A’s closer Liam Hendriks to a multiyear contract and trade for starter Lance Lynn, bolstering an already strong club.
“This is why I came here,” Hendriks said. “There’s a possibility to win a division and make the playoffs. We’re doing so, and now we’re in the running for a ring.”
In the White Sox’ AL Central-clinching win on Thursday, Tim Anderson blasted a pair of home runs. Getty Images/Jason Miller
It’s the White Sox’s sixth division title, and their first since 2008. They are the first MLB club to win a division this season, and they are making back-to-back playoff berths for the first time in franchise history.
“For me, it’s all Fantasy Island,” remarked manager Tony La Russa. “This is how I’m returning. We are all aware of the reality. When I took over the first three positions, the clubs were in dire straits. Managers don’t often find themselves in a position like this, with a squad that is so eager to win. As a result, I’m very lucky.”
La Russa, 76, was the manager of the Chicago White Sox from 1979 to 1986 before moving on to Oakland and St. Louis, where he won three World Series and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He returned out of retirement this winter, after a decade away, to take over the club he had led for the first 42 years of his career, a decision that some panned.
White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf stated, “I definitely thought he was the ideal person for the position.” “There was never any question in my mind. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t seen him in a decade. I saw him and spoke with him. I was aware of what he had left. I needed someone who could manage the pitchers while also being able to connect to the players, and I knew Tony could do it.”
His teammates were in agreement.
Anderson remarked, “He came in and let us be ourselves.” “Players come first, he constantly says. He let us play the game the way we wanted and let us have some fun with it.”
Four home runs, including two by the White Sox All-Star shortstop in the opening two innings, helped the White Sox to a convincing victory. In the second inning, outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert hit back-to-back home runs.
“From my perspective, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance that this squad has earned over the last six months,” La Russa said before the game.
In the ALDS next month, the White Sox are expected to play the Houston Astros. Despite winning the division, the White Sox have struggled in the second half, with a 32-32 record after dropping Game 2 on Thursday night.
The White Sox’s season has been defined by their ability to overcome injuries. For long stretches, they were without Jimenez, Robert, and second baseman Nick Madrigal, while Anderson has been hindered by leg problems in the second half.
Andrew Vaughn, Gavin Sheets, and Leury Garcia, all rookies and role players, came in without skipping a beat.
“The loss of Eloy and Luis was a stomach blow early on,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “We were able to win more than we lost fairly soon after we lost Luis, and there developed this mentality that we still had the horses to accomplish it.”
The White Sox surged to first place in May because to the quality of their starting lineup. Lynn and Carlos Rodon, both All-Stars, headed a rotation that had the American League’s second-best ERA before Thursday. At the trade deadline, Chicago added All-Star reliever Craig Kimbrel to its bullpen, but he has struggled at times in a White Sox jersey.
The AL Central’s direction was altered with a 19-10 victory in May.
Jose Abreu, the reigning AL MVP, has been a force at the bat once again, driving in 113 runs and attempting to lead the league in RBIs for the third consecutive season. In this category, he is two behind Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals. In his 35-year managing career, La Russa will be making his 15th playoff appearance. In 1983, La Russa’s White Sox won the AL West by a 20-game margin.
“We’ve proven to be a very good ball club when everything is working,” Anderson said. “We demonstrated it today.”
In the coming weeks, Reinsdorf believes the squad will demonstrate more of it.
“Winning anything is always a wonderful feeling,” he added. “However, this is only a first step toward what we hope will be a larger reward.”
- 2005 world series winner