Sox buckling up for a wild ride to finish

CHICAGO -- At 10 p.m. on Monday, the Chicago White Sox were feeling good about themselves and their playoff picture after a late-inning comeback win over the Cleveland Indians.

At 4 p.m. on Tuesday, their mood had been reversed after being placed on the other side of a narrow 4-3 loss to the Indians.

And thus is the day-to-day existence of a team fighting for a playoff spot.

“Literally, 48 hours can change the whole complexion,” White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said.

After Monday’s win, the White Sox remained a game ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. With Tuesday’s loss, the Tigers picked up ½ a game and will have a chance to be even with the White Sox if they defeat the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday evening. If the Tigers lose, the White Sox will find themselves still a game up.

With eight games left after Tuesday, there’s a common thought that the division title won’t be won until the season’s final days. The White Sox close out the regular season with three road games against the Indians, and the Tigers finish with three road games against the Royals.

“Why not?” Konerko said when asked if the race could be decided on the final day. “It seems like it could. I hope not. I hope we clinch before that. But now we have to assume we’re going to walk in here tomorrow even, which is fine, and be ready to fight.

“That’s not a bad place to be either with eight games left. Even with that many games to go, it’s not a bad place either. There’s no reason why we can’t win that if that happens. If anything’s better than that when we walk in here tomorrow, that’s a gift. But that’s got to be our mindset; we’re going to be fighting either way down to the end.”

White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski assumed it was going to be a dramatic ending.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Pierzynski said. “Nobody said it was going to be easy. They’re not going to go away. They’ll keep playing hard. All we can do now is hope Kansas City wins, and if they don’t, we’ll be tied with eight games to go.”

Despite all the ups and down, White Sox manager Robin Ventura hasn’t moved off his calm approach. He has been around the game long enough to know what can happen in the final week.

“End of the season is always like that,” Ventura said. “There’s crazy stuff that always happens. We’re going to keep playing. Don’t know what’s going to happen.”

And so they move on to Wednesday.