CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura and Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland agreed Monday’s game is important to their American League Central pennant race, but said there is also plenty of baseball to be played.
The White Sox entered the day with a two-game lead on the Tigers. Monday’s game, originally scheduled for Thursday but postponed due to rain, will be their final meeting of the season.
“It’s a two-game swing,” Leyland said of Monday’s game. “Is it winding down somewhat? Yes. If you look at the whole overall scenario, it seems like forever ‘til the end of the season because of the simple fact that both teams have to win games.”
“For today it is [an important game],” Ventura said prior to Monday’s game. “Tomorrow, it’ll be tomorrow’s game. I think again it’s fun, it’s exciting. You get toward the end of the year, and you’re actually playing the team that you’re chasing or in front it’s a lot of fun.”
Both teams have 16 games remaining after Monday’s game.
The White Sox host the Cleveland Indians for three games beginning on Tuesday and the Tampa Bay Rays for three games over the weekend. They play road games against the Kansas City Royals (three games), the Los Angeles Angles (three games) and the Indians (three games).
The Tigers have home series against the Oakland Athletics for three games, followed by the Minnesota Twins (three games) and the Royals (four games). They close the season on the road against the Twins (three games) and the Royals (three games).
“No. 2, you start looking at scheduling,” Leyland said. “Well, you both start looking at scheduling and you say, ‘Oh, their schedule is easier than ours.’ Well, I don’t know about that. We have to play a Kansas City team and an Oakland team that’s playing their [butts] off, and a Minnesota team that can be dangerous as hell.
“We got to play those teams, but they have to play the Tampa Bay Rays and they have to go to Anaheim yet. Anaheim’s playing for something, too, so their schedule is not a picnic. That’s why there’s a lot of action here left.
“[The White Sox] answered the bell all year long, but it’s not the final round yet. Forget the scheduling and forget who’s playing who because neither one of us has a picnic, as far as the schedule is concerned, the rest of the way out.”
The White Sox have struggled against the Tigers this season. The Tigers lead the season series 12-5 and have won nine of their past 10 games.
“You’re playing hard, and they’re a good team,” Ventura said of the Tigers. “That’s just stuff that happens in baseball. It doesn’t mean you don’t play hard today. You play and see where it ends up. They’re good. You’re not ashamed to lose to a good team. We have the ability to beat them. We just have to play better.”