Making World Series run tops Chicago White Sox to-do list
So much accomplished, so much more to do.
That's the current state of the White Sox, and they did report for work against the Indians on Friday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland after clinching first place in the AL Central the day before.
"They celebrated hard, well deserved, long into the morning," manager Tony La Russa said. "But they're all playing. We'll see how much energy they've got. I know they want to be out there. I think looking forward with the few games we've got left, we have to take advantage of those."
One goal is chasing down the Astros and finishing the regular season with a better record than Houston, which would give the Sox home-field advantage in the AL Division Series.
The White Sox entered Friday's play 5 games behind the Astros, making it likely they're going to begin the postseason on the road.
Houston was 3 games behind Tampa Bay heading into Friday, so there is a chance the Sox play the Rays in the ALDS.
No matter how it all shakes out, the White Sox are not satisfied with just getting back to the playoffs.
Last year, the Sox advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2008 and were knocked out on the first round by the Athletics.
"We didn't like that taste we got last year, so it was upon us to go out and take care of business," said shortstop Tim Anderson, who was 9-for-14 in the best-of-three Wild Card Series that was played in Oakland. "And look where we're at now, we won the division. And we understand that it just starts here.
"Just going to continue to be great teammates, keep pushing one another and keep having fun, and I think we'll get to where we need to be."
The White Sox want to be the last team standing, the one hoisting the World Series trophy.
"I was disappointed last year that we didn't win the division," Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said to a pool reporter Thursday. "But this is about where we thought we were going to be. The plan we always say is we want to win multiple titles. The real plan is we want to be competitive year after year. It's very hard to win one title, let alone multiple titles.
"I just want us to be playing meaningful games every October."
The White Sox might fall short of winning the title, but they should benefit from the bitter taste they got last season.
"We had some injuries, we had some things going on, but we were able to kind of turn that and have that next man up attitude, having those guys that come up and make an impact," said closer Liam Hendriks, who helped the A's eliminate the Sox last October.
"That's something this clubhouse culture has kind of provided to everybody, the ability to go out there and talk smack to everybody, to be able to kind of get each other going and pick each other up when they feel a little down or the need to get into someone's face a little bit on some certain times when guys, you feel like they're slacking a little bit.
"It's a family in there and we pick each other up when we need to, we knock each other down when we need to as well. It's a good vibe in there, and that's something. I've been in some clubhouses before, there's certain people that just don't vibe as much, but there's no one in this clubhouse that doesn't have that good attitude and wants to make sure that we go ahead and win this whole thing this year."