Chicago

Swept by the Guardians, White Sox playoff hopes fade away

CHICAGO – At least there is one thing for fans on the south side who have dealt with a most difficult season from their team over the last six months: At least they don’t have to stress out too much over the final two weeks of the season.

That’s because the Guardians essentially dealt the White Sox playoff hopes a death blow over the course of three days at Guaranteed Rate Field.

In a series in which they had to sweep or at least 2 of 3 games to keep the hope of winning an American League Central division championship, the hosts were swept out of their own ballpark by a Cleveland team that hasn’t stopped rolling since the beginning of September.

The 4-2 defeat now puts the White Sox seven games behind the Guardians for first in the AL Central, and having lost the tiebreaker, it’s really an eight-game deficit with just 12 to play.

In the must-have series, Cleveland outscored the White Sox 22-11 to gain the three critical games in the standings and, essentially, put themselves in the driver’s seat for the division crown. After each team scored a run in the first inning Thursday, the Guardians got three runs off Johnny Cueto during his six innings on the mound to make up the deficit.

At 76-74 on the season, the White Sox are not officially eliminated from the playoffs but would need an improbable run over their final 12 games and a collapse on the part of Cleveland. If that doesn’t happen, then the team that was overwhelmingly favored to win the AL Central will have been kept out of a least a share of first place since April 20th.

Oddly enough, a loss to the Guardians knocked them out of first place on April 21st, and three-straight defeats at home in late September to the same team will likely keep the White Sox out of there for the rest of 2022.

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