Neither a loss or torrential rain could get in the way of the Chicago White Sox’s celebration Thursday, as the team clinched its first AL Central title since 2008. The White Sox won the division in the first game of a double header against Cleveland Indians, but despite falling in the second game, the players still joined together on a drenched Progressive Field tarp to bask in their division-title winning glory.
The White Sox are the first MLB division champions of 2021, will host their first home playoff games since 2008 and qualified for the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history — three reasons why the players celebrated as joyously as they did on the field and in the locker room.
Shortstop Tim Anderson powered the Sox to a 7-2 win in Game 1 with two home runs and four RBIs. Cleveland responded with a 5-3 win in Game 2 thanks to a walk-off two-run homer from outfielder Oscar Mercado that broke a three-all tie in the seventh. The teams played a double header to account for a game they rescheduled in June.
The White Sox’s division title win was worthy of a celebration, but their play over the last month hasn’t been. Chicago is 9-11 in September and has lost six of its last 10 games. Chicago has nine games left — including three against Cleveland — to get back on track ahead of their first home playoff series in 13 years. Manager Tony La Russa is confident the Sox can not only win its first playoff series since 2005, but also take home the championship like it did that year.
“Anybody who is good enough to get in, is good enough to win three series,” La Russa told reporters.