White Sox lose 3-2 as they hunt for home-field advantage
The White Sox are likely going to clinch first place in the AL Central and a trip to the playoffs soon, perhaps this weekend when they play the Rangers in Texas.
They'll be able to take a deep breath after officially finishing on top of the division for the first time since 2008, but the Sox still have something to chase before moving into the postseason.
At 49-26, the White Sox have the best home record in the league.
As it stands now, the Sox will meet the Astros in the ALDS and Houston has the home-field advantage. The White Sox are hoping to flip that scheduling in their favor.
Playing at Guaranteed Rate Field Wednesday night, the Sox could not pull off a ninth inning comeback and lost to the Angels, 3-2.
"More than anything, it keeps us focused right now," rookie Gavin Sheets said. "You see how well we play at home with this crowd and this fan base here. We want this place to be where teams have to come through. I think I speak for all of us when I say we want to have home-field advantage here and play in front of these fans as much as possible.
"I think that's the biggest goal for us. Obviously, we want to clinch the division but getting home-field advantage, that's the biggest ticket."
Dallas Keuchel is just hoping to be on the Sox's playoff roster after a tough season overall and a dismal second half showing.
The left-hander started against Los Angeles and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks over 6 innings while throwing 98 pitches.
"I've been feeling good," Keuchel said. "Outside of a couple at-bats, I felt like I really made the pitches I wanted to."
With the game tied at 2 in the eighth, Brandon Marsh put the Angels in front when he homered on a 101-mph fastball from White Sox reliever Michael Kopech.
Yoan Moncada hit a solo home run for the Sox in the fourth inning off L.A. starter Janson Junk and Yasmani Grandal had an RBI single in the sixth.
Out since late June with a strained right flexor pronator, relief pitcher Evan Marshall was hoping to be back in the White Sox's bullpen by now following extended rest and 5 games with Class AAA Charlotte on a rehab assignment.
There is still a chance he can join the Sox this season but Marshall hasn't pitched since Sept. 4, when he experienced "elevated" soreness.
"I had a decent-sized tear of flexor muscle of my elbow, pretty close to down where the tendon attaches," he said. "Surgery was a possibility when they first looked at it but really it was one of those things where it will just heal, scar over. I just need to give it time. We expected, coming back from something like that, that probably it could have been a season-ender. that we might have some minor setbacks along the way and this was just one of those bumps.
"But it's feeling much better now. I'll start a catch program tomorrow and assuming I didn't really lose anything during this sort of week that I haven't thrown, we'll ramp up pretty quickly."