Before the season, MLB rules changed when it comes to the playoffs.
A total of 12 teams now make the postseason, six in each league, and there will be no more “Game 163”: the idea is to have tiebreakers decide who wins division or Wild Card spots and avoid playing extra games so that the playoffs can start promptly after the regular season ends.
In that sense, the Cleveland Guardians have earned a key advantage in their quest to win the AL Central division.
They won a crucial game on Tuesday, 10-7 against the Chicago White Sox.
With the victory, the Guards now own the tiebreaker against Chicago.
“The Guardians have clinched the tiebreaker against the White Sox,” Guardians insider Mandy Bell tweeted.
The Guardians have clinched the tiebreaker against the White Sox.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) September 21, 2022
What does this mean?
Cleveland Has Clinched The Head-To-Head Series Against Chicago
If there is a tie at the top of the AL Central division between Cleveland and Chicago, the former will be crowned division champions.
Because they are winning the regular season head-to-head series, 10-7.
There are two games remaining between the two teams, but even if the White Sox win both, the best they can aspire is losing the matchup at 10-9.
The conclusion is that, if Chicago wants to win the division, it will need to best the Guardians in the standings: tying them won’t do the trick.
Cleveland is now 81-67, five games up in the standings over the White Sox, who are 76-72.
It will take some flawless performance by the pale hose over the final weeks to leapfrog a solid Guardians team that seems to be peaking at the right time.
One thing is certain: the loser of the battle probably won’t make the postseason because they are still far from most of the Wild Card teams.